Don’t miss the boutique, which is an excellent place to buy gifts and souvenirs; prices are very reasonable.
Grasse, a historic town only a short train ride from Nice, is the world capital of perfume. It is home to the houses Gallimard, Molinard and Fragonard, as well as the International Perfume Museum, which traces the evolution of the industry over its 5,000 years of history.
Fragonard, established in 1926, is housed in one of the town’s oldest factories. The historic factory contains a free museum with period furnishings and fascinating objects relating to perfume manufacture, including antique bottles and stills and a wonderful ‘perfume organ,’ with tiered ranks of bottles and a central balance used for mixing fragrances by the parfumiers of old. Tours will take you through the enfleurage rooms, macerating and filtering studios, and artisanal soapmaking and packaging workshops.
The Flower Factory comprises the modern perfumery and the soapmaking plant, and is where you will see how fragrance is extracted from the raw materials. In the spring months the tours finish with a visit to the garden, which is full of the fragrant flowers that provide essences for the perfumery.
You can also take part in a €49 class led by a master perfumer or ‘nose,’ learning the art of how ingredients are selected and used; you can even make your own 100ml eau de toilette to take home. A visit to Fragonard is a fascinating experience - and, of course, everything smells wonderful.
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