After looking at Gourdon, we set off to the 'World Perfume Capital' (Grasse, France). I was pretty much excited to look at this town and one of the perfume factories located there, just because I recently (before the trip) happened to see the movie 'Das Parfum' (German) or 'Perfume-The Story Of A Murderer'. Its a well-known movie, which is based on a German novel, written by 'Patrick Suiskind' (and ofcourse reading the novel is better than watching the movie - universal truth).
The movie 'Das Parfum/Perfume' is about a character, who is born (and dumped) and bred-up in a slum in Paris (a couple of centuries back) and who has this special ability to smell different things and recognise what they are and which are good. He struggles throughout his childhood as a slave and at some point of his age, he impresses some perfume maker and gets a chance to work under him. But he's always in search of that perfume, which would be the best and perfect perfume in the world. One day, he smells something so good that he follows some path and gets to know that its the 'Scent Of A Woman'. He approaches her, when she is asleep and tries to just be around and smell her. She finds out that someone is around and tries to scream, but this guy (Jean-Baptiste Grenouille), in an attempt to stop her doing that, strangles her to death. Without anyone noticing that, he just creeps out of the scene. After being around his master (The perfume maker), he learns how to contain the 'fragrance' of flowers and in return, he prepares some of the best perfumes and brings makes his master's business profitable. After spending some years, he's still not so happy as he's still in pursuit of the so-called best perfume in the world. Then, with his master's permission, he sets off to GRASSE, FRANCE (because it has a prospering perfume industry). (*This is why, I was partly excited about this trip*). He finally works it out, as to how he can contain the scent of a woman and murders multiple women, at that place. Ok..Now, I will leave the rest of the story to some other sources of information and will continue with my trip details. :)
After driving for a couple of minutes, we reached Grasse, France and parked our car, in front of 'Fragonard' perfume factory. Fragonard, Molinard, Galimard are some of the perfume makers in Grasse. Their factories are open to tourists and also offer free guided tours. As I heard, every year 2 million tourists arrive from different parts of the world to visit the perfume museum/factories/shops. Lavernder, which grows profusely in and around Grasse, is one of the reasons why this town is very famous as a source of perfumes (also for some other historical reasons). Here are some pics that I shot (before and after entering Grasse):
After parking our car, we walked around the main parts of the town. Here are some pics:
After that, we got back to the 'Fragonard' perfume factory, looked around a bit and took the guided tour. In this tour, you can get to know some interesting facts. Also, most of the perfume makers around here, still use the old methods of perfume-making. I mean old methods, old instruments or machines, et al. In this guided tour, I got to know different interesting facts. Some interesting terminology and facts, as below:
1) A person (expert), who can recognise or identify the substance from what he smells is called a 'NOSE'.
2) As per the guided tour of the Fragonard factory, I got to know that there are just 50 'Noses' in the world, who can recognise/identify thousands of scents.
3) The 'Nose' is expected to recognize between 2000 to 3000 scents from memory.
4) At least 20 scents are mixed for a simple perfume.
5) The creator of the perfume (THE NOSE), sits at an organ of hundreds of bottles, testing, sniffing for the right combination of scents, that will sell. (*Not An Easy Job - Also, You should have that special ability*).
6) 'Perfume' is for women, 'Toilette' is for a man - Perfume has much more concentration of aromatic compounds, than Toilette.
7) Eau de parfum: 10-20% aromatic compounds.
8) Eau de toilette: 5-10% aromatic compounds.
9) Eau de cologne: 2-3% aromatic compounds.
10) It takes about 650 pounds of rose petals to produce one pound of rose essence.
Also, in that tour, I got to smell different things and try to recognize what is what. I could recognize only a few (*Its difficult, you know*). Its a bigtime 'Nose' job (I'm not talking the other kind of Nose job). ;-)
A lot of things (apart from flowers) are used to make a perfume (Sometimes, Beef and other kinds of meat too). Here's a brief/short procedure of making a perfume:
1) Extract the scent by special techniques, using special instruments/machines.
2) Contain the scent/perfume in special containers.
3) Finally many of these scents are used by the 'NOSE', in creating a perfume.
The above steps, I listed out sounds easy, but it doesnt cover everything (as I dont know all the steps - Otherwise, I would be a perfume maker *grin*). Its just a brief process, that I listed out. Ok, now I'll post the pics that I shot at/inside the 'Fragonard' perfume factory. Here I go:
Finally, after the guided tour, I got some perfumes and shower lotion from the shop attached to the factory (hoping that all the best looking chicks out there, at my place, would be impressed, if I use that shower lotion or perfume...lol). I also tried to run around, after using that shower lotion, expecting women to run and follow me (like, in the Axe advertisement), but no one did..Instead, they thought I'm crazy..weird, right?!?! *wuhahahha* ;-)
Thats it for this part of the trip. Au Revoir! :-)
For more pics, check the slide-show below: