While many ancient societies used perfumes, it was the French that made them luxury items. Known as “the perfume capital of the world,” the town of Grasse in the South of France has the ideal climate for growing essential flowers like jasmine and lavender. These ingredients are used to create fine perfumes that the modern world has come to know and love. Discover the top five perfumeries in the South of France, where you can get a firsthand look at how these marvelous scents are created.
The Galimard Perfumery was originally founded by Jean de Galimard in 1747 and is the third-oldest perfumery in the world. Yes, you read that right: this well-respected perfumery is 268 years old! Since its founding, Galimard Perfumery has maintained its original recipes that were used for King Louis XV, who reigned until his death in 1774. Its blend of jasmine, rose, lavender, orange flower, and tuberose creates a scent that’s universally loved.
Did you know that you can also take a tour of the factory and museum, which are located in Grasse? This guided tour is offered 365 days a year and will show you the laboratory, where perfumes are created from the extraction of fresh, locally-grown flowers. You can watch the bottling process, and if you’re lucky, you may even be told some of the company’s secrets to these time-honored scents. Stay in one of our vacation rentals in Nice, which have easy access to the town of Grasse and its perfumeries. Explore more about the city of Nice, France.
Also located in Grasse is the Fragonard Perfumery. This historic factory has been around since 1782 and boasts unique scents from locally-grown flowers. Some of fan favorites include Fragonard, a jasmine and amber scent, and Belle Chérie, which features tangerine, vanilla, and sandalwood. Take a guided tour of the factory for free to see the daily operations that go into making these treasured scents. After your tour, browse the museum, which features 3000 years of the history of perfume. You can also visit the showroom where perfumes are available for purchase at a discounted price. If you are planning to visit Grasse and the surrounding cities in the French Riviera for more than 30 days, check out our furnished apartments in Nice, a city about 30 minutes away from this must-see perfumery. Don’t forget to visit some (or all!) of our top 10 villages to visit in Provence.
Molinard Perfumery has been operating in Grasse since 1849, and has been completely family owned since the beginning! They have been famous since their inception for their floral waters and Eaux de Cologne. The British Monarchy even paid a visit to this perfumery in 1891, and Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom, purchased some already famous scents. Follow in the footsteps of the Queen of England and take a tour of this Grasse icon!
Unique daily tours attempt to transport you back to the 19th century, giving visitors a firsthand look at how Molinard’s scents are made. After visiting the distillery, guests can view the soap factory, cream room, and lastly, the sales room. Grasse also features many festivals, including the Lavender Parade. Every year on August 15th, visitors will hear Provencal music, make crafts, get to enjoy the uniqueness of lavender ice cream, and even try their hands at harvesting lavender! While vacationing in the South of France, check out other top yearly events. Stay close to the action with our Vacation rentals in Cannes, a popular city nearby.
4. Le Domaine de Manon
Le Domaine de Manon, is a family-owned and operated Grasse perfumery, grows its flowers itself! It grows the Centifolia Rose and the Jasmine Grandiflora, two popular flowers used in perfumes. These flowers are picked during their peak bloom and are shipped for use in Dior fragrances, one of the most popular global fragrance companies. Don’t miss your chance to see the harvesting of these beautiful flowers on your French Riviera trip! The roses bloom from early May to early June, and the jasmine is in bloom from August to mid-October. Tours are only available on Tuesday mornings during the blooming season. While in Grasse, don’t miss the Jasmine Festival, which is being held from July 31 thru August 2 this year. A parade will be held in which thousands of these beautiful flowers will be thrown to onlookers and there will be an abundance of music and food for all. Discover the best 5 markets to visit while exploring the South of France. Consider staying in the area for the full harvest season in our furnished apartments in Cannes, South of France.
5. L’Occitane en Provence
The L’Occitane en Provence factory is located in Manosque, France. This world-renowned perfumery has been making natural fragrances and oils since 1976. Some of its bestselling fragrances include Citrus Verbena Summer and Verbena Eau de Toilette. The factory offers free one-hour tours that reveal the inner workings of their operations and the integrity of their pure ingredients. Even though it has stores worldwide, you can’t pass up this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see how the stunning scents are created. Stay in this exciting area in one of our vacation rentals in the French Alps.
Have you tried any of these famous French perfumes or visited their perfumeries?