The Domaine of the Rose

Domaine du Manon

 Tuesday morning came in the usual burst of sunlight through the windows. This was the morning that we would make our way up the hillside into the domaine above Grasse where one of the few remaining rose growers in the area can be found. In the 1930’s there were 8,000 rose producers in the Grasse area, now only 20 remain. The Domaine du Manon is a family owned grower in its 3rd generation. During May and June the family open their gates on a Tuesday to visitors who want to know more about the history of the Rosa centifolia that is grown in this area. The roses from the Domaine are taken to Grasse each day after they are picked where they are prepared for use in perfumes by Christian Dior with which the family have a lifetime supply contract. The roses are picked each morning after the dew has dried and before the sun is fully risen. When we visited the roses were being picked late as there had been a heavy dew. The family also had their fingers crossed as there were thunder storms forecast for the afternoon and this can result in the loss of many rose heads and a few days harvest. The pickers are students from the horticulture college in Versailles who do this picking as part of their coursework. The French Television were also filming a feature for a nature programme. We were walked through the fields and given a talk on how the roses are cultivated and picked. A demonstration on rose grafting on to wild stock for strength ended the tour in the shade of the pergola. The domaine also grow Jasmine grandiflorum which is harvested from August through to October. Jasmine tours are available during the harvest season. Before leaving there was a chance to purchase jams, syrups and soap made from the precious rose and jasmine petals

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