Sunday, 10 June 2012

Grasse in the footsteps of Jean Baptiste Grenouille


When Kairos Travel's diretor, Philip Haslett, met Alain Ferro, the director of the International Perfumery Institute in Grasse, it was immediately obvious that a unique travel experience was in the making. Provence is immidiately associated with perfume and Grasse is the world capital of the perfume industry. Tourists can visit any one of the many perfume houses open to the public and these visits are informative, and truly interesting but...
Flower petals awaiting the extraction process (c)ASFO-GRASSEThe real world of the perfume trade is not available to the general public. In and around Grasse there are the distilleries, the makers of essential oils that seem to have been stopped in time. Huge copper vats aligned like some mad professors experiment, slowly extracting the subtle perfumes from rose petals or jasmine flowers are a fascinating insight into this mysterious and magical world.
Kairos Travel offers you the opportunity to access these secret sites, during a full day's private discovery tour.
Accompanied by your guide, you will discover the old town of Grasse, following in the footsteps of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille the protagonist from Patrick Süskind's novel Perfume, published in 1985, the reading of which is highly recommended  before partaking in this visit. You will discover the sites where the perfume manufacturers in the book once were, though now they have moved to the outskirts of town, as the process of distillation was somewhat risky, and exploding vats of essential oil was not an uncommon occurrence!
After lunch in one of the shady terraces in the old town, your next guide, a master perfumer, will take you to the manufacturers of perfume. Here the fascinating world which you can read about in Süskind's novel becomes reality. The months of May and September are particularly interesting as the rose and jasmine flower perfume is extracted. We also have access to flower gardens whose produce is destined only to the greatest perfume creators in the world, when the flowers are in bloom you can even take a basket and join in the delicate process of picking.
These are visits that are only available for journalists and professionals, and groups cannot exceed 6 guests, accentuating the unique and privileged nature of this experience. 

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