Nothing beats the smell of an ambrosial fragrance lingering in the atmosphere even minutes after being used. This, you only get from using quality perfume from household perfume brands such as Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana,Ralph Lauren, Gucci Lancôme, Armani, etc who due to the variety of quality fragrances available for its customers to choose from, have seen their finances grow exponentially. The consistency in high quality clearly means these brands put a lot of research into getting the right ‘standout’ smell.
Now it is no secret that France is the world’s largest exporter of perfume. This has, to an extent, rightfully branded Paris; the capital of France, a “perfume haven”. Other countries like Germany and the USA follow closely in terms of exports and general revenue made from the sale of perfume.
Don’t get it twisted. France is not the first country to have produced perfume. The use of perfumes dates as far back to the early days of western civilization in Mesopotamia, where the Greeks and Romans used perfumes to hide body odors(they didn’t do much bathing back then). Also, the Egyptians used to burn scented wood to create aromatic perfume. In the early 1500s, it is believed the Arabs introduced smell to the Italians and the Medeci family had ‘chemists’ reproduce the smell. It was during the time of the Renaissance that Catherine de Medecis, wife of King Henry II, became the first to introduce perfumes in France taking with her, her own apothecary Rene le Florentin.
One might ask where these perfumeries get their ‘raw materials’ from. It’s definitely not from Paris, not from Milan, or any of these names you see on your bottles of perfume but from a little town in the Northwestern part of Nice called Grasse. Nicknamed the perfume capital, Grasse is a commune in Alps-Maritime department and is considered as the world’s capital of scent/perfume. Grasse produced its first fragrance in the 18th century. It is also believed that the grassois, the people of Grasse are gifted with ‘special noses’ and are able to distinguish over 2,000 kinds of scent. Interesting, right? I thought so too.
Now the fun part…. Grasse produces more than half of France’s natural aromas for perfume. MORE THAN HALF! Impressive! It also provides food flavorings due to the abundance of meadows which offer varying new scents. Each year, a staggering twenty seven tonnes of Jasmine, a key ingredient in many perfumes is produced in Grasse.
Today, you will find Galimard, the oldest perfumery in France, in Grasse.
Whenever you visit France, do well to check it out.
By Sena Amankwa.
Featured image credit: Fiifi Arthur Dixon(Lux Fii)