We joined a fab day out organised by the Cotignac Museum entitled, ‘Le Parfum de la Terre à la Bouteille’ – perfume from the earth to the bottle. About forty of us caught an 8am bus to Grasse, and arrived a couple of hours later at the family-run flower estate, Le Domaine de Manon. Our hostess, Carole Biancalana, welcomed us with coffee and an infectious explanation of their enterprise.
The perfume industry selects the best terroirs for particular flowers, for example Ylang Ylang from the Comores, Camomile from Hungary, Patchouli from Indonesia, Lavender from Haut-Provence… and Grasse is the best terroir for Jasmine Grandiflora and Rose Centifolia.
This domaine embraces biodersity in their farming methods, and go to great lengths to ensure that everything is as natural and environmentally friendly as possible. Beetles play a very big role in keeping aphids at bay, and the only weed-killer they use comes in the form of three burly chaps laughingly referred to as RoundUp 1, 2 and 3.
All the flowers that are grown and harvested in this beautiful domaine are used exclusively for Dior perfumes. When one hears how many petals it takes to make 1 liter of parfum, it’s not surprising that concentrated perfume is such an extravagant treasure.
Standing amidst the heady scent of these delicate pink flowers, it’s easy to fall in love with the romance of French perfume. And to be inspired by these passionate people so attuned with Mother Nature. Merci pour une trés belle journée !