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Luxuriant and Fragrant – Gardens of the Grasse International Perfume Museum

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Written by KeiKwan Kwong Published Aug 25, 2014
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The gardens of the International Perfume Museum in Grasse, in the department of Alpes-Martimes (06), are dedicated to conserve aromatic plants traditionally grown in Grasse and its environs. A place to discover the essential perfume ingredients and to enjoy the pleasant fragrances and beauty of rose centifolia, jasmine, tuberose, lavender, geranium, broom, orange blossom and many more.

(Photos © Alexandre Reynier; except those under the “The Field” © Gardens of the International Perfume Museum, Grasse)

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Gardens of Colours

Connected to an old canal and an agricultural basin, the site covers an area of about three hectares. Take a stroll and explore the plants that are arranged according to their olfactory notes: citrus, floral, woody, spicy, fruity, musky…. The gardens are intended as a fun educational tool in organic gardening. Compost, green fertilizers and techniques of mulching are used in order to supply the vegetation with the necessary elements for growth while respecting the soil and optimizing water supply.

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

The gardens are separated into two parts by the canal. To the east is the olfactory trail, a discovery garden where plants are grouped by their corresponding olfactory notes. To the west is the field where the aromatic plants traditionally grown in Grasse are cultivated. It is rare nowadays to have this type of conservation area for plants, thus it offers us a great opportunity to learn more about the protected flora and fauna.

The Olfactory Tour

An area for the discovery of different fragrances and the olfactory notes used in perfumery. One can find mixed aromatic plants along the trail, some of them have been cultivated in the Grasse region since long time. A fun way to learn more about aromatic plants.

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

The Field

The first fragrant plants used in Grasse in the 16th century were wild orange blossom from the Italian coast; Provence lavender; cassia from the family of mimosa imported from Africa; myrtle and pistacia lentiscus, which both are native to the Mediterranean region.

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Oranger bigaradier – Citrus aurantium L. var. amara – Famille des Rutaceae

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Mimosa – Acacia dealbata Lam. – Cassie – Acacia farnesiana Wild – Famille des Fabaceae

Thanks to the local aromatic production, the gloves makers and the perfumers could find the fragrances they needed for their respective business. The three major plants, symbolic of the perfumery industry in Grasse since the 17th century, are jasmine, rose and tuberose.

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

 Jasmine – Jasminum grandiflorum L. Famille des Oleaceae

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Rose de mai – Rosa x centifolia – Famille des Rosaceae

The jasmine from India appeared in the countryside of Grasse in 1650. Rose centifolia, which is smaller but has a more intense fragrance than the common rose, was cultivated around the same period. The tuberose from Italy was grown in the region in 1670.

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Tuberose – Polianthes tuberosa L. – Famille des Amaryllidaceae

Birds

The gardens of the museum are committed to promote wild life. Therefore, the techniques used are environmentally friendly, organic gardening is applied and trees are trimmed outside the nesting period. The gardens have become a haven for birds, insects, small mammals and the associated flora.

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence

Practical Information

Gardens of the International Perfume Museum, Grasse
979 chemin des Gourettes, 06370 Mouans-Sartoux
Tel : +33 (0) 4 92 98 92 69
Free Visioguides available

See Also:

Museums in Grasse (English available)

Grasse, International Perfume Museum, Gardens, Provence


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