There are 3 main perfume houses in Grasse and many small artisan perfumers. The houses of Fragonard, Galimard and Molinard are the main ones, all situated close to the town centre. A little more history….
Fragonard history begins just before the First World War when Eugene Fuchs, an entrepreneur who had fallen under the spell of the world of scent had the idea of setting up a perfumery business in Grasse He sold products to tourists who were visiting the area and staying on the Riviera. Fragonard was named after Jean-Honoré Fragonard (1732-1806) a famous painter born in Grasse. The business began trading in 1926 and the naming also showed a wish to respect and celebrate traditional standards. The business is still family run. During the 1970’s under the charge of Jean-Francois Costa it underwent rapid expansion allowing him to gather a large collection of paintings and perfume related items which enriched the cultural heritage of not only the factory but the town of Grasse.
The Galimard perfumery has a much longer history being created by Jean de Galimard in 1747. The founder of the corporation of Glovemakers and Perfumers he supplied King Louis and his court with perfumes, pomades and oils with formulas he had created from flowers, fruits and plants that were grown around the town of Grasse. Galimard was no ordinary man being Lord of Seranon and related to the count of Thorenc. For over 260 years the perfumery has used the traditional process which first made it famous and which continues to thrive today in Grasse.
Molinard is the third of the large perfume houses. Founded in 1849 it is still a family run business. Initially it produced Eau de Cologne and floral waters which it sold in a small shop in the centre of Grasse. In 1860 it developed a new range of perfumes that were packaged in crystal bottles specially designed for them by Baccarat. Queen Victoria purchased Eau de Cologne from the perfume house during her visit in 1891. In 1900 needing a larger space Molinard moved to an old perfume factory in which the distillery structure had been designed by Gustave Eiffel. During the 1930’s Lalique designed perfume bottles for the fragrances they produced. The company remains on this site today visited by many thousands of people each year not just the wealthy English and Russian clients that came to view its magnificent collection of furniture and buy exclusive perfumes in the 1930’s.
All the perfume houses offer the chance to create your own perfume. So I’m off to create something special …