After learning about perfume production at Fragonard we carried on into the medieval old town of Grasse. I had read some quite negative reviews on Tripadvisor so we weren’t expecting much but ended up all agreeing it was totally charming.
The town has several perfume museums, we opted to visit the Musee International de la Parfumerie. A small entrance fee of 4 Euros but Son was free so all very reasonable.
The museum is housed in an 18th century mansion, just gorgeous with every angle picture perfect. The house was actually the star of the show for me – beautiful and grand, apparently Napoleon’s sister used to stay here, I can totally see the appeal.
There was a modern glass extension at the back and plenty of rooms to explore inside. The museum follows three millenia of perfume history using a mix of artefacts, bottles, videos, vintage posters and plenty of information panels in French and English.
We started off lazing on beanbags (Son enjoyed this very much) watching a film while testing our sense of smell.
There was plenty of hands-on stuff for children and the opportunity to touch, smell and press buttons in all areas of the museum.
We found a fragrant garden then entered room upon room of perfume bottles, dating from the Ancient Greeks via Marie Antoinette to the present day. All beautifully presented but unless you have a fascination for scent bottles it all becomes a bit much and we scurried through rather quickly.
There was a little (but in my view not enough) about the industry and how it developed in Grasse and just a tempting teaser of how it affected the lives of the people who lived there.
We found a gorgeous orange garden outside with benches where it would have been nice to sit and soak up the atmosphere but Son was a bit too fidgety for that.
We all enjoyed the explanation of the chemistry behind perfume and Son adored the contraptions that puffed the fragrances into your face so you could smell what was going on.
An exit through the gift shop and we were on our way, thoroughly briefed on the history of perfume.