Local products04 January 2019

Fragrance expertise of Grasse listed as Unesco's cultural heritage [Video & photo gallery]

The newly registered intangible cultural heritage of Pays de Grasse includes the cultivation of perfume plants, the knowledge and processing of natural materials, and the art of perfume composition

Credit Facebook site

Credit Facebook site

Grasse, considered by perfume manufacturers to be one of the world’s most prestigious fragrance centers - owing to a know-how developed over more than five centuries, and a micro-climate favoring the growth of ingredients,like roses, iris, jasmine and other flowers - although the number of producers has dropped.

Some 30 hectares of land are dedicated to it today, instead of almost 2,000 in the 20th century, though Grasse’s city council last week said it had turned 70 hectares of fields marked for potential urban development, into an agricultural zone to encourage growers.

The iconic Chanel No. 5 perfume, said to have been the favorite of US actress Marilyn Monroe, originated in Grasse. The yield is still coveted by big luxury companies like Chanel or Guerlain owner LVMH, who boast of their “Made in France” credentials. It is said that big French brands were increasingly looking to sign exclusive contracts for entire harvests, ensuring their supply of raw materials. France is the world’s main perfume exporter.

Demand for the end product should be increasing, according to perfume associations, boosted by growing request for naturally-sourced cosmetics.

Judit Neuberger

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