Monday, September 12, 2005


I have been smelling lots of perfume lately. It started in Eze when we discovered that there was a Fragonard factory that gave free tours nearby. Of course we had to go! Beau-père was charmed by our guide and bought some men's eau de toilette for himself; le Pacha bought his amoureuse a small tin of "solid" perfume, and belle-mère bought her friends rose-scented eau de toilette and shower gel. The perfume is not made at the factory in Eze, where they specialize in beauty products and soap. It seems that they only employ "jeunes filles," since all the tour guides and workers were pretty young women.

Perfume Museum

A few days later we headed to Grasse, the biggest perfume-town in France. According to my Hachette guidebook Provence Côte d'Azur, Grasse produces two-thirds of the perfume in France. My Fodor's France 2005 says that even Dior and Chanel produce their famous scents here, but that they do not have tours. Since we couldn't tour these famous factories, Jube and I (without the belle-famille this time) toured trusty Fragonard again. This time I wanted to hear the tour in English, although I had understood perfectly well the Eze tour in French. We waited an extra 15 minutes (which was pretty hard on Jube!), and finally a Fresh Young Thing announced the start of the Engrish ranguage tour. Jube, Gem, a young American couple and two older British women joined her. We discovered that she herself was not a native English speaker--she was Japanese! It was quite fun to hear her cute accent, although the British women couldn't understand everything. We saw some old drawings of perfume makers from the 19th century, and even then Fragonard employed jeunes filles! The women, in their long skirts, tossed flower petals onto rendered pig fat in the drawings (the job used not to be as glamorous as today!). Quite an enjoyable time was had by Gem, while Jube tried hard to understand the guide's accent.

1 comment:

dirty dingus said...

This is a really interesting article about the perfume makers of Grasse and how they make perfumes for the fashion houses