Thursday, July 26, 2012

European Extravaganza - Part IV b - Grasse

Monday morning we checked out of our hotel, left our bags, and walked up to the train station.  We were going to Grasse!  

A quick 20 minute train ride up into the hills, and we were greeted with lovely views and lovely smells.  There's the tiny Grasse train station.  From there, we needed to go UP the hills into the main area of town.

Instead of waiting for a bus to take us up the winding streets, we knew there was some staircase way straight up the hills. After a few minutes of searching for the trail, we found it and got our workout for the day.

We made it to the top, into the mecca of parfum.

First stop, a free tour of the Fragonard perfume factory!  Definitely recommended.

It's a pretty fascinating operation.

To create the 'essence' of a perfume, the traditional method is to place flower petals on animal fats, and change them every few days.  The fat absorbs the scent, then you pour alcohol over it, then evaporate it to make absolute essence.  It takes 3.5 tons of rose petals to make one liter of essence.  Wow!

Here's the room where the 'noses' work.  It takes three years of school to learn to be a nose, and you have to be able to recognize 3000 essences. There are only 50 noses in the world and only three schools where you can learn to be one.

We were ushered into the shop and got to sample four different types of perfume - floral, citrus, oriental, and woody.  I'm always a fan of the fresh citrus or floral scents.

I ended up buying the newest floral scent called Belle Cherie: a top note of tangerine and star fruit, a middle note of jasmine, heliotrope and lily-of-the-valley and a back note of sandalwood, tonka bean and vanilla

After the tour we went for a walk to find some lunch.

Crepe time, where we saw the largest jar of Nutella.

Super pretty town.

Across the way is the International Museum of Perfume.  It's well done, though I get a little bored with history lessons.

Looking down from a museum balcony.

Perfume storage from the olden days.

They had these funky machines where you could stand with your nose near the hose, push a button, and your sense of smell could go on a ride.

Wanna smell some drugs?  Opium, magic mushrooms, acid, weed, coke.

Famous perfume bottles.

Fragrance family tree.

More shops.

We walked over towards the cathedral to find some amazing views.  I really couldn't get over how beautiful it is.

This guy's shop looked cool, but we didn't stop.

We did stop for ice cream.  The guy was cute.

Gorgeous Grasse!

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