Fragoanrd…where the perfume borns….


The charm of Provence allied with extremely contemporary pure lines, that is the Fragonard spirit linking the world of perfume with that of the home…

 Or I can say, the historic perfume factory in the heart of the perfume heaven Grasse, making from perfume from 1782. Fragonard’s Musée du Parfum occupies a mansion from the era of Napoleon III.

Jean Honoré Fragonard

 In 1926 they took the name of Parfumerie Fragonard as a tribute to the famous painter Jean-Honoré Fragonard. Here on a daily basis they produce our perfumes, cosmetics and soaps in a setting imbued with respect for tradition.

Down a narrow old street in Grasse’s historic center, we can find the shop dedicated to the home with its product lines inspired by the collections in our Provençal costume and jewelry museum, just a few dozen yards away…

 In the heart of Grasse, on the first floor of the historic perfume factory, that perfume museum displays a fabulous private collection of perfume bottles, presentation boxes, stills, documents and apparatus that recount the history of perfume making from most Ancient times down to the present day…

 Here we can find how “the soul of the flower” is extracted…. How exiting!!

grasse historic factory, Fragonard

 One of the more intriguing exhibits is the orgue à parfum, or “perfume organ,” so called because it resembles the keyboards of a seven-manual cathedral organ with its tiered rows of ingredient bottles arranged around a balance or scale that the perfumer uses when mixing and testing fragrances. Other interesting devices include stills (for steam distillation of perfume extracts) and glass frames that were coated with fat and flowers in the traditional “cold maceration” process….

 The art of perfume making goes back over 5,000 years, as you’ll discover at the Fragonard museum. Set up over 20 years ago, the museum retraces the way fragrances and essences of all kinds have evolved over the centuries. we’ll discover an extensive range of flowery, fruity and oriental eaux de toilette and perfumes, cosmetics and essential oils and scented soaps and candles for men, women and children. The museum shop has a collection of Fragonard perfumes with evocative and romantic names such as “Juste un baiser”, “Lune de Miel” and “Ile d’Amour”.

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Edmond Roudnitska, A French Creator of fragrance


Edmond Roudnitska was more than just a creator of fragrance. He also devoted much of his time to understanding the true sense of the words “to create” and “Creation”.

 Edmond Roudnitska (1905-1996) was a French master perfumer and author. He is known for creating some of the most famous perfumes in the world, such as Dior Eau Sauvage, Diorissimo, and Rochas Femme. Many of his creations are still in production today…

Edmond Roudnitska

 Once Again Coming to Grasse, Edmond Roudnitska was born in Nice as we know that’s very near to Grasse, the fragrance capital of the world. Roudnitska actually entered the fragrance industry lacking education in the vocation that his was later to dicover. With no background in perfume, he learned everything from scratch but was soon promoted to take charge of the physico-chemical control of a fragrance company. Wow… Have you ever think??? Yes, Passion can make everything possible…: D

 A year later, Roudnitska was sent to the Paris to take over from a top perfumer of the company where he was essentially self-taught. A fantastic career followed thanks to all his work and efforts as well as his creative genius. His entire life was a constant creation…

 Through the course of his life, Roudnitska met many influential people from the world of fashion, art and science. Among the most prominent were Marcel Rochas, Christian Dior and Emile Hermès for whom he created his best known fragrances which are still on sale on the international market today…

 In 1946 he founded “Art et Parfum”, a private creative laboratory for perfumery first based in Courbevoie (near Paris) then located in Cabris near Grasse, also his home, where he lived until his death in 1996.

 Perfume Shrine embarked on a mission: to direct and discuss one of the bastions of chypre: la maison Dior in its former glory, when under the baguette of Edmond Roudnitska and Paul Vacher it produced classics that remain up there in the pantheon for all of us to worship.

Rochas Femme

 For him it is not the sense of smell or the materials that are important, but rather the spirit which, playing with forms, will coax the latter with the aid of the former. This point of view had been forgotten for decades when perfumes came out with the eye more on the commercial than the artistic, only to be revived when certain niche companies came into the fore dynamically. Roudnitska bases his axiom in the comparison to other art forms.

 “A beautiful perfume is the one which gives us a shock: a sensory one followed by a psychological one. A beautiful perfume is one with happy proportions and an original form”. He often used to say that.

Dior Eau Sauvage

 He thought, perfume composition should be unique, much like a musical piece, and protected against “plagiarism”. To this he was adamant.

 But it was his meeting with Serge Heftler-Louiche, director of parfums Christian Dior that cemented his style and directed him into a lucrative business and artistic collaboration that lasted for decades and it is interesting to juxtapose the chypres he produced for them with Femme. Christian Dior opened shop in 1945 under the insistence of the businessman Marcel Boussac. A new perspective to fashion was brought with his New Look, which took women back to the era of crinolines, in a way, counter-revolutionising what Cadolle and Chanel had accomplished through the use of pliable materials that helped women become the men in their lives in all areas besides the boudoir.

Diorissimo

 As I said before, The year was 1947 and Dior came out with his first scent, Miss Dior, as homage to his sister. Credited to Paul Vacher, based on a formula suggested by Jean Carles and reorchastrated by Roudnitska in 1992 in extrait de parfum, it is nothing short of a classic and the introduction of a big trend in the coming years: the floral chypre; but with an animalic twist down the line, of which more later on.

But it was in 1949 that Diorama, a fruity chypre, was created by Roudnitska. With it he found a balance between complexity and clear vision that captures several olfactory nuances: spicy, floral, fruity, animalic and all enrobed in a sensual feminine dress.

 Roudnitska’s most successful –commercially certainly! – scent entered the scene in 1966: Eau Sauvage. A chyprish citrus for men with the daring floral note of jasmine through the use of hedione. In this Roudnitska culminated his aesthetic odyssey of the sparseness of composition with an artistic merit that defies criticism. Diorella (1972), with its foot in the fruity tradition of Diorama, was the feminine chypre counterpart to Eau Sauvage, enigmatically relying on very few materials to give a very fresh, very young fragrance and which Roudnitska himself considered one of the best in his career. Dior Dior, a woody floral, issued in 1976, never took off commercially and was destined to be discontinued till now.

 

Grasse, The Perfume Heaven


It is known that in Grasse the most costly and appreciated variety is cultivated, Jasminum Grandiflorum, with the most delicate scent and whose production is reserved for the most exclusive brands. The Grasse jasmine is the only one in the secret formula of Chanel N°5.

“In 1921, if you wanted rose or jasmine, the only place you could find it was Grasse,”

Never been there, but heard the sun lits up giant trees and tiled roofs as they pulled into the town. Its 22 miles from Nice, 11 miles from Cannes, Grasse lies on the famous Route Napoleon. ‘The perfume capital of the world’ and despite four centuries as the Queen of Perfume it still rightly deserves this title. The nearby sea and mountains have had a favourable influence, giving the region a pleasant and healthy temperate climate, and the town’s little buildings lend it an easy charm. Wow..

Many of the most popular French perfumes are developed in the town of Grasse located in the south of France. Grasse has a long history of perfume production and today the perfume industry employs hundreds of people in the town. Part of the reason for the success of Grasse as a perfume manufacturer is that its Mediterranean climate in the south enables the cultivation of many different types of flowers which were then used to extract the perfume essence. Although most modern popular French perfumes rely more on chemicals than floral essences today, more often than not the inspiration for a perfume comes from a natural source such as vanilla, rose or lotus.

16th Century, the perfume industry, spawned and developed by two factors, namely, the cultivation of aromatic plants supplying the tanneries with the raw materials required to perfume leather, and the fashion of perfumed gloves introduced by Catherine of Medicis. Perfumery, as an art form and industry, was born in Grasse. And today, it’s economic and tourist heartbeat is fragrances, used for food flavouring, and for perfumes, soaps and cosmetics.

Flowers are everywhere and Nice has the best flower market of all, over 100 market stalls dedicated to flowers. The February Carnival in Nice is famous for its ‘Battle of the Flowers’ where spectators are pelted with flowers and petals by the lavishly decorated floats as they parade through the City. Visitors and tourists to the City can go on a walking tour around various gardens open to the public, visit greenhouses and perfumeries, there are several excellent Museums dedicated to the History of Perfume and the Fragrance Industry that are worth visiting.

‘Parfumerie Molinard’ is the oldest family run business in France. Founded in 1849 in Grasse you can still visit the original factory rooms where perfumed products are still created with loving attention to detail.  The Head Office, factory and museum are in Grasse, the ‘House of Fragrance’ is in Nice. Perfumers to Royalty, Molinard has worked with Baccarat and René Lalique for many years who have created some stunning perfume bottles for Molinard.

Grasse’s main attraction is the Cathedral, dedicated to Notre Dame du Puy and founded in the 11th century. In the interior, are three works by Rubens and one by Jean-Honore Fragonard, a French painter native of the town. There’s also Saracen Tower, standing at 30 m, monumental gate of the Hotel de ville, Fragonard Museum, established in 1921,International Museum of Perfume, Musee d’Art et d’Histoire de Provence, Church of Placassier, built in 1644, PerfumeBronze parfumeur in old Grasse.

The importance of scent in Grasses’ history is brought to life at the Musée International de la Parfumerie – a museum in the town which provides details of the process of perfume manufacture and covers 3000 years of the industry’s history. The museum’s chief treasure is the travel case of Marie Antoinette and the building also houses a greenhouse where the public can experience the all-encompassing, aromatically fragrant plants and flowers growing at first hand.

It is also known that in Grasse the most costly and appreciated variety is cultivated, Jasminum Grandiflorum, with the most delicate scent and whose production is reserved for the most exclusive brands. The Grasse jasmine is the only one in the secret formula of Chanel N°5.