Grasse Perfume History

Grasse, located in the French Riviera, is a picturesque land that is considered the perfume capital of the world.

Before perfume, Grasse was famous for its leather and tanneries; however, the leather gloves that were made there had an unpleasant odor. In an attempt to mask the unpleasant smells, a tanner named Jean de Galimard scented his gloves. People in the countryside began to grow flowers and one woman named Catherine de’ Medici spread the word of scented gloves all around the world.

Eventually, high taxes on leather and competition from Nice diminished the leather industry, leaving behind fields and fields of fragrant flowers. A perfumery called Perfumerie Galimard was established by Galimard to use the flowers and create pomades, ointments & perfume.

Grasse perfume began its journey of excellence after a new production method excelled the perfumery industry in Grasse in the 1700s. Fields of flowers covered the countryside and the flowers were hand-picked during harvesting season from dawn till dusk.

“Perfume is the key to our memories” - The Perfume Garden

Grasse harvested rose, jasmine, tuberose, mimosa, myrtle, orange blossom and lavender to diversify their perfumes. Over the years, they evolved their harvesting and processing techniques, which earned them the title of “The Perfume Capital of the World.”

Today, Grasse accounts for half of the production of perfume in France and about 10% of the world.

It is an enchanting land where I can imagine exploring the fields of flowers, weaving through the cobblestone streets and admiring the old-world architecture.


Photo by The Toth's Photo & Film