Nourished by cross reflection between specialists and backers, the International Perfume Museum’s Gardens comply with the imperatives of sustainable development and the Agricultural and Landscape Heritage Interpretation Programme within the Grasse region. In these gardens, crops of species grown traditionally for perfumes lie alongside landscaped areas comprising various collections of fragrant or aromatic plants. Their primary purpose is to contribute to the conservation of the diversity of species traditionally cultivated for perfumery. They also bear witness to local agriculture’s olfactory landscape.
The olfactory route:
Since the eighteenth century and with modern perfumery, the use of natural raw materials has become more diverse. Regardless of their origin, their presentation is essential for understanding the art of perfumery.
The olfactory route is intended to allow visitors to discover or rediscover the fragrances and olfactory notes used in perfumery and includes fragrant plants, aromatic plants and part of the collection of perfume plants grown in Grasse. A fun approach shows visitors the different plant scents through scent families classified by olfactory areas and the notes perceived by the nose.
Along the way, visitors are invited to place their hands in the fragrant foliage and smell the flowers near the path.
To provide further explanations about the world of perfume, the gardens offer visitors use of an video guide. During the visit, everyone can view photos and videos, and listen to testimonies from farmers, harvesters and brokers.
The conservatory in the gardens reproduces the fields of flowers as they were grown at the time of the perfume plant industry.
The first plants used for perfume in Grasse in the sixteenth century were wild orange from the Italian Riviera; lavender, Provencal by excellence; cassia, from the mimosa family imported from Africa; myrtle and pistachio mastic, local produce. Through local aromatic production, glovers-perfumers were able to find the fragrant essences and products necessary for their activity.
But from the seventeenth century onwards, the three major plants, which were so emblematic of Grasse perfumery, were jasmine, rose and tuberose. Jasmine, which came from India, appeared in the Grasse countryside around 1650. At the same time, rose centifolia, smaller but more fragrant than the common pink rose, was grown in Grasse. Tuberose came from Italy and was introduced to the Grasse region in 1670.
The picnic area
The picnic area in the MIP’s Gardens offer visitors the chance to take a break in the shade of the cypress trees, in a setting worthy of Tuscany.