While attending the Cannes Film Festival and Film market, you never stop hustling from busy places to busier rooms, workshops, screenings, line ups. People every where, images bombarded, music, promotions it never ends.
So it can be a great idea to hold the frenzy for an afternoon. One of the magical place to do so is just a drive away in the hills in land from Cannes in the town of a thousand scents: Grasse.
Known for its leather tanning work in the Middle Ages, Grasse became the capital for perfume manufacturing starting in the 16th century. The drive takes you from the Mediterranean and gently the road goes up the hills in between field of flowers. Jasmine, Centifolia Rose, Orange blossom, Violet, Madonna Lily are part of the exceptional numbers of varieties of flowers grown around the city. The feast is visually stunning: backgrounds of greens, purple, rose flowers and the ocre stones. Here’s a wall supporting a terrace, an entire farm or a small shack. The arrival in the small town during lunch time is typically quiet time. Traditionally every store is closed between noon and 2:00pm except one boulangerie, bread is sacred in France...
Founded in 1989, The International Perfume Museum, the only museum of its kind in the world, is located in the iconic town of Grasse, the birthplace of luxury perfumes of which France was the initiator. Dedicated to one of the most prestigious traditional French activities, the International Perfume Museum is a public institution labelled "Museum of France" allowing visitors to discover the history and uniqueness of the profession of manufacturers and large perfumery houses. A true testament to the international technical, aesthetic, social and cultural history of the tradition of the use of scents, the museum takes an anthropological approach to the history of fragrances in all its aspects - raw materials, manufacturing, industry, innovation, trading, design, uses and through a variety of forms- art objects, decorative arts, textiles,
archaeological evidence, unique pieces or industrial forms.
The museum is organized into five sections according to Western historical chronology - Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern and Contemporary periods , each representing a historical period and contemporary issues: elegance and classicism, magic and dynamism, frivolity and hygiene.
Moving from France twenty some years ago, I became a Frenchman outside of France carrying in his baggages a bit of French culture spiced up by new discoveries.