A visit to Grasse, the home of perfume, would not be complete without a trip to one of the town’s most famous perfume factories. Molinard, set in a handsome building in its own right – pinky-cream rendering with pie crust tiling and iron fretwork – was established in 1849 and much of the perfume making process is still done by hand. After a really interesting tour of the factory showing the various methods of extracting the essences – from flowers, bark, vegetables and seeds – we then set to making our own. With pipettes and smelling wands, it took me back to chemistry lessons at school. Learning about top notes, base notes and middle notes, we all had to select five of our favourite basic essences from a selection of about 50 to make an exclusive product. I liked my creation and wear it regularly, but I’m not sure “Greenway” is any threat to SJP’s “Lovely”, so she’s safe on the best seller list, for the moment.
Attached to the factory is a spacious shop selling their attractively packaged products – soap as well as perfume – making ideal presents.
The perfume lesson took 40 minutes and cost 40 euros, the price including a 50cl bottle to keep.
Closed Sunday and Monday and for an hour at lunch.