Grasse (Molinard) – Part 1

Grasse (pronounced as Grass)….is so beautiful!!!!!!!!!!

I would say, this is one of the best cities I’ve been to during this trip. Eh, didn’t I mention that Cannes and Nice were beautiful too? Haha….seriously, this is one of the best place which I visited during my trip. Not only the trip to Grasse was beautiful but it was a very informative trip. Let me tell you why!

I am sure that you own at least 1 bottle of perfume. Now, how did perfume come about? Or how do companies have all sorts of new perfumes for different seasons? I learned it all on this very day.

This was my first view of Grass after parking the car. Fragonard (pronounced as Fra-go-na) is one of the perfumery in Grasse.

The streets of Grasse

Just like other cities in Southern France, Grasse has rather small streets. The only shops which are widely available are shops which sell fragrances in forms of oil, perfume, soaps, dried flowers…etc.

They are so playfully coloured and look more like candy bars instead!! Those are soaps btw :)

Besides the little shops, there weren’t much to see around the city. This is just some residential area. It’s really beautiful but to really stay there, I don’t think it will suit me. I am very much of a city girl.

As I continued my stroll, I felt a little hungry. The food selection was pretty small and if only soaps can be eating, that would be pretty appetizing. Fortunately, this little bakery made me feel so good!

The bread/sandwich/pasta smells damn good. I forgot what I ate but it was simply fantastic. It was not because of my hunger that everything tasted good but everything there is freshly made. I could smell the newly baked bread and lasagna as I stepped in.

After the quick bite, I was all ready for a perfumery tour!! From the centre of Grasse, it takes another 10 minutes to Molinard. They were close for lunch when I arrived. Hence, I did what I did best. Camwhore lor.

The gates were open for us to rush in to be in time for the 2pm tour! Woo-hoo! We were brought to this room where they showed us, how perfumes were made. Basically, flowers will be thrown into these big tanks (which are called distillers) and the flowers will be boiled, as seen in the photo below. The heat will extract the oil from the flowers and the vaporized oil will go through the tube which leads the oil to the cooling tank. Since water and oil do not mix, it will be easy to extract the oil and that’s how we get essential oil.

It is estimated that 10000 flowers will be needed to obtain 10ml essential oil! To obtain 10000 flowers, somebody has got to do the job! And below is the uniform of the workers:

Essential oils which were extracted will be stored in these tanks.

Below is a mock laboratory. They call this person sitting in there as “The Nose”. Basically, he will be the one creating scents by mixing various essential oils.

We were then told that during World War 2, Molinard produced a shaving cream called Rosaline. It is made of almond oil and was sold to families of war prisoners at a very low price. Rosaline is seen in the picture below, yellow/black box.

The essential oil produced can be made into bar soaps.

In 1930s, there were no little sample bottles to be distributed. Hence, perfume cards were created for distributions. About 3000 cards can be printed within 1 hour.

Of course, we were also thought the most important thing about perfume – the different notes. Ever wondered why your perfume smells differently after a few hours?

It is all due to the top note, middle note and base note. The top note is the smell that is immediately noticed. As the top note disappears, the middle note will be noticeable. The middle note also defines the fragrance type – if it’s fruity, flowery, woody, etc. The base note will be last smell noticed before the perfume fades off.

Molinard allows their visitors to attend short classes to create your own scent. So, one is able to mix his own top, middle and base notes to create the signature scent for 27 Euros. The tour itself is free. Well, nothing is really free in this world. The tour ends in this little shop of Molinard. Of course it is up to you to buy, or not. But after being introduced to so many scents and being amazed with Molinard factory, I had to walk out with something lah!

(EXCUSES!) ….but I didn’t buy much…

Did not lie *wink*
This was just a part of my day in Grasse and I am falling asleep as I type now. So, enough of photos and learning for today. I shall continue Part 2 pretty soon. Molinard is a must visit if you are in Grasse.
Molinard is the only perfume-maker to have kept its production factory intact, and to provide tours for visitors to see it as it was in the olden days.” Taken from Molinard