Grasse, France. Known best for its concentration on creating scents and parfumes, for the fields of flowers they use for the infusions and for the working parfumeries located there. It’s relatively easy to get there by train, even bus if you know where you need to change busses, This was a place I was very interested to see (and smell!) and several others had the same intentions so we made a trip out of it. I would definitely say this was a girly trip. In a good way! ha ha It started with us trying to find the parfumerie on our own. Well, ok. So with about seven girls thinking that their way will get us where we need to be.. it gets complicated. To say the least. But fun! Somehow still fun. We had heard about a parfumerie where one could make their own parfume! With this as our goal, we set out to find said place. Sort of. We walked through winding paths up a ways until we found what should have been the tourist center but no one was there, so we stole some maps and tried to make some deductions on our own. Eventually we just winged it. We went to the Parfume museum which I have to say, was very well presented! It was interactive and fun, there were headsets everywhere so you could learn and there were all these different scents to smell. There was one room where you walked in, sat down (it was fairly dark) and closed your eyes as pictures flowed onto the screen and you started to SMELL what you were seeing. My favourite was the juicy cantalope. The next rooms were done up in a sort of greenhouse style. You walked through it and you were able to touch and smell the physical plants, flowers, everything involved in creating scents in parfumes. Then you could walk through and see the process of making parfume step by step, while viewing the actual machines. There were rooms upon rooms of parfume containers – sold to the individual – dating all the way back to ancient times, and then towards more recent 1920’s Chanel Number 5, etc. Finally, you could try and make your own scent combination on a computer, (you picked a base, a middle scent, and something for the top notes of the parfume) and it wafted out to you to smell your creation. Pretty neat, I say! All this for 1€50 with my student ID card. Sweet deal. From there we went to the famous Fragonard parfumerie, where we received a tour of the facilities by a lovely tour guide. The process for making parfume is extensive! And very intriguing. I’m glad I went – there was much to learn and to see with your own eyes. Taking in exactly how much time and effort goes into such a small bottle, how many thousands of jasmine flowers are delicately hand-plucked from acres upon acres in the countryside of Grasse. The coolest part was when we stopped right outside this room that reminded me of that thin walkway with the single chair in Xmen – Dr. Xavier’s awesome room where Cerebro is held. The chair had a half-sphere sort of desk displayed before it, all filled with tiny bottles of scents. Hundreds. In this chair sits the “Nose.” They talked about “noses” like a smelling genius – there are only around 50 in the world, you have to be born with the gift, most of them are men, because their (smelling) system is usually better. And someone who is born with the gift can recognize/memorize 50 smells whereas a normal person can only really do 10. And then if they train at a special school they can memorize 300, and if they go professional, they can learn up to 3000. Gooodness gracious that’s amazing. Hahaa… the lady who was doing the tour said that if you become a nose, you work for only 3 hours a day and you become very very rich. Some people have insurance on their noses. How crazy is that. The tour very purposefully and somewhat tactfully led us to the gift shoppe, where our tour guide gave us a few sample sniffs of some of their greatest achievements. They all smelled reeeeaaally good. These people are pros. The complexity of the parfumes is astounding. I chose one for myself called Emiliè which incorporated scents of rose, violette, sandalwood, jasmine and amber almost magically. I spent over an hour in that room just letting my nose indulge. I found a really nice cologne that instantly made me think “TJ” so I splurged and got him it for Christmas. Now I’ll just have to smell him all the time. That’s not weird at all… Anyways the scents are nutmeg, clove, pepper, leather, and juniper. They smell sooooo good together. I also purchased several little intricate bottles of very delightful parfumes for some of the girls back home. After I finally resurfaced from the aromatic chamber I realized that I did indeed smell like a walking parfume factory. It seeped into every inch of my clothing, hair and skin. Not complaining too much.
So from there on we went to this sort of exhibit/mini museum that had paintings of ladies with rose petals for lips! How creative! And how obvious was it (of course) for us to copy this. The following pictures are from us finding a rose and mimicking the idea with just a little more… um, outrageousness. Of course that is an actual word. Flair. That’s the word I was looking for. Ha ha ha Olga and Sasha looked like they were MADE for it. Ha ha ha Louise went for the leaf moustache. Love it. Anyhow, back at the museum there were also the cutest little country girl outfits – adorable. I would totally have worn those back in the day… if I was, you know, French. After touring through alleys and alleys of shops selling wonderfully scented soaps and potpourri we eventually found that one parfumerie that lets you make your own parfume. the only problem is that you have to have a minimum of ten people choosing together the same scents for a pretty price. So we decided to focus our efforts on finding some gelato. We wandered around the city for a bit getting lost before we found an excellent gelato place with the most delectable flavors. Of course by that time we noticed it was getting to be about the time that we were, um, late… for the train. So we took off running in the direction where we thouuuuught the train was… and we all thought we knew the way back… which got us lost a little… but arrived Just. In. Time. Because France wanted us to get home in time for dinner, I am sure. ♥