I recently visited Fragonard in Eze Village. Fragonard has been creating perfumes and cosmetics since 1926 and they offer free tours at their factories in both Eze Village and Grasse. Eze Village being the prettiest of the 2 towns, I chose to do a tour here. Unlike the distribution and marketing strategies of the leading French perfume brands, Fragonard and Galimard (another similar perfume house) sell their perfumes direct to the customer through their own stores in France and direct to the public at the end of the tour. The other difference is that you are buying concentrated perfume at a fraction of the price.
The production house at Eze Village makes the soaps, hair products, creams and cosmetics whilst the factory at Grasse produces the perfumes. They produce 2,000 soaps per day and all done by hand to obtain the best results. A bit of trivia – it takes 1 ton of jasmin flower to produce 1kg of essential oils, and it takes 3.5 tons of rose petals to make 1kg of essential oils. So next time girls, when you ask why is perfume so expensive, it’s for this reason. Essential oils is the basis of perfume production. To make parfum, (concentrate), this takes 24% essential oils and 76% alcohol. To make eau de parfum, this takes 15% essential oils; eau de toilette takes 10% and eau de cologne takes 5% and the remainder is made of alcohol and perfume water.
Fragonard import flowers from all over the world, including eucalyptus from Australia!
I’m sure you’ve all heard of the ‘noses’. These are people employed by the perfume houses to smell fragrances and to create new perfumes. I was told that it takes 3 years of study at a private ‘perfume’ school, located in Paris, Versailles or Grasse, then a further 7 years of an apprenticeship is required. Today there are only 50 ‘noses’ in the world, they are not supposed to drink, smoke or eat anything too spicey, plus they are very well paid and only work 2 hrs per day. In that time they smell up to 250 essences per day and can recognise 2,000 fragrances. What a job!
At the end of my tour and after spraying myself with countless florals, orientals, fruits, I bought a couple of bottles and came out smelling beautiful!