Many people will associate high quality perfume with France. France’s reputation in the perfume industry is well deserved and with four of the world’s eight largest perfume manufacturers in France, it is easy to see why. In fact, the French tradition of perfume manufacture dates back many centuries and France has always had a dominant position in the manufacture and sale of perfume.
However, despite being associated with culture and tradition, nowadays it is far more likely that most perfumes are created in high tech industrial complexes that look more like pharmaceutical companies than fashion houses.
Perfume is more important to French people than to most others in the world and the figures speak for themselves with nine out of every ten women, and over half of all men using French perfume.
If you are interested in seeing the real French perfume heritage, then there is no better place to start your journey than Grasse on the French Riviera. Ever since the eighteenth century, Grasse has been the perfume capital of France, and despite many recent changes in the industry, Grasse remains the Mecca of perfume enthusiasts around the world. The international perfume museum is located here at 8, Place Cours, and is well worth a visit. If it is perfume bottles that you are interested in, then perhaps the perfume bottle museum in La Rochelle would also fit your requirements.
Grasse is a small sunny town that is perfect for a relaxing visit. It is idyllically located in the foothills of the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and remains a perfume producing centre with over 2,000 employees producing almost a billion dollars worth of perfume each year. This represents half of all perfume produced in France and a whopping 8% of the global figure. While much of the labour intensive tasks are now carried on elsewhere, and flowers are usually imported from Bulgaria, Turkey and Madagascar, you will still be inspired by the dedication that goes into the perfume at Grasse.
However, interesting as the production of perfume is, and important as it is to French culture, what many visitors to France will be interested in these days is shopping for perfume. While you can’t beat a visit to the home of a fragrance, and buying it from the factory in the very town in which it has always been produced, if you really want to shop for French perfume, then Paris is the place to go. While a shopping trip to Paris rarely comes cheap, it will be delightful and always fulfils even the highest of expectations.