Tourrettes-sur-Loup & Les Violettes

The medieval town of Tourrettes-sur-Loup is known as the “City of Violets.”  The city celebrates the end of the flower harvest in March, with the “Fete de la Violette,” an event that was started by Victor Linton, a jeweller who came to the village in 1947.   The “Victoria” violet, characterized its five petals, long stem, and deep violet color, is a fragrant, winter flower used to make ice cream, jam, candy, beauty products, perfume, cosmetics, & more.  The leaves are cultivated later to make the essence used in many famous perfumes.

Food stalls and violet-themed products were front and center with crowds mingling throughout the town’s cobblestone streets and enjoying the weekend festival – taking time to smell the roses violets!

violets

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Top Destinations For Romantic Getaways On The French Riviera

The following is a guest blog article about four of the many lovely places to visit on the French Riviera – BIENVENUE!

“Cote d’Azur, quite popularly known as the French Rivera in the English-speaking world is the beautiful coastline of southeast France that overlooks the Mediterranean. Whether you are searching the internet for a romantic weekend, a lifetime vacation or honeymoon you can find the most enticing experience in the French Riviera. We have listed below some of the best places that inspire romance in the French Riviera

Grasse

What could be more romantic than the perfume capital of the world? The rural hideaway is the best place to surprise your loved one with the best smelling gifts. The French perfumery took shape in this little town since the first settlers made it their home back in 1400. You could also find several perfume stores about, where you will be able to make a custom blend of perfume based on your preferences. Some of the hotels in these parts also have some of the world’s finest wines locked away in their century old cellars. If you ever visit Grasse, you should also travel to the old town of Cannes which is just 15 kilometers to the south of Grasse, where you will be able to relish in the finest pebble beaches the French Riviera has to offer. For adventures couples there are a couple of hillocks surrounded by serene forest nearby, where they can go on hiking and have the whole place to themselves.

Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat

The Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is probably the best place to blend romance and luxury. The placidity and legendary hotels around the peninsula was the main reason it had been one of the most favored destinations of the European aristocracy. It is still a favorite holiday destination for a lot of millionaires around the globe. The picture-perfect peninsula will surely live up to your expectations of a romantic getaway. Take a stroll along the promenade Maurice Rouvier during the evenings past the pleasing villas towards the small fishing harbor. There are three popular beaches in the peninsula. Cro de Peï Pin, the biggest beach in the locality is also the most crowded. For couples who prefer privacy, there is the Paloma beach on the foot of a small cliff on the north. The beach is just 10 minutes walk from the fishing harbor. To the north of the main peninsula is the Passable beach past the Office de Tourisme which is also moderately crowded during the sunny days.

Old Town of Antibes

There is no best time of the year to visit the town of Antibes. It is one of the biggest pleasure ports in the French Riviera. The main attraction of Antibes is the majestically built Fort Carré. Walk along the ramparts of the old fort to get a stunning view of the ocean and the waves crashing against the rocks down below. There is also the Musée Picasso where you will be able to witness some of the best works of the veteran artist.

Nice

A nice city (pun intended) located in the heart of the French Riviera is Nice. The large and lively city might not be the best place to go if you need privacy, but there is a lot of exiting thing to do in the ancient city, which is very lively. The flea market which is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays located in the main square attracts a lot of tourists. It’s a true delight to your eyes with all the bright vibrant colors and your nose with enticing scent of flowers and fruits sold in the stalls. Some of the places one shouldn’t fail to visit around Nice are, Chapelle de la Miséricorde, the famous Castle Hill, and the ornate Opera.”

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Author Bio: Aiden Korr is a vivid traveler and loves to visit different places around the world. He specifically recommends Quintessentially Concierge.

Bastide St. Mathieu in Grasse

I recently attended a yearly charity event: an operatic dinner on the terrace of a beautiful manor on the outskirts of the perfume capital of the world, Grasse.

It was a starlit evening, abound with champagne and comraderie. I was seated at a table next to the stage, providing a bird’s eye view of the opera singers who also meandered around the terrace tables (videos below)

BRAVO!  BIS! BIS!

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(My usual MO (modus operadi or better yet, moment oublie) – I forgot to take a photo of the dessert!)

Sniff, sniff – “Do-Re-Mi-Fa-Sol-La-Ti/Si-Do”: A French perfume song!

One day, a friend and I went to visit a nearby parfumerie; reluctantly, on my part, since I don’t wear perfume because I suffer from allergies around strong odors – although perfume is preferable to some others!

Nice is about 27 km (17 miles)from the “perfume capital of the world”, Grasse, with its large parfumeries, “Fragonard” and “Molinard,” being major industries and tourist attractions. There are several options, though, as Nice has “Molinard,” Eze village has “Fragonard,” and Cagnes-sur-Mer has its “Atelier des Parfums,” all where you can do a guided visit and purchase products.

During the tour, I learned that in the 16th century, roses were added into the leather making process, as a way to hide the animal odor in gloves: at that time, animal fat was used to absorb the flowers’ fragrance, then washed with alcohol and filtered. Today, petals are distilled in a variety of methods, depending on the concentration of oil desired:

~ 1,000 kg of flowers distilled with water vapor = 1 kg of essential oil
~ 600 kg of flowers distilled with solvents = 1 kg of “absolu” (a higher concentrate)
~ 5 tons of flowers = 1 liter essential oil

Surprisingly, most flowers are imported; however, the three grown around Grasse are rose, jasmin, and violet. The most common regional flowers used in making perfume are mimosa, lavender, rose (petals), jasmine, orange blossom, violets, and broom. No wonder pure perfume is so expensive, as 10 ml of natural rose liquid costs 200 Euros!

Le “nez” (nose) is, logically, the title given to the creator of original perfume scents, and who, to begin with, must be able to recognize the smell of 400 primary scents, with an increase in repertoire possible to around 1,500-2,000 different odors. Reportedly, about 50% of “les nez” are women, with the main training center being situated in the town of Versailles.

What I found fascinating was the laboratory (more like an office library), where there were rows and rows of shelves (called an “organ”), full of bottles of scents (each one called a “note”); the combination of scents is called a “chord”, with many chords being a “composition.”
So, the “Nez” is, in fact, a ‘musical’ composer with around 80-150 different scents in one perfume!

To create your own personal composition, you may want to try to make your own perfume! (If you try this recipe, I would love to hear how it turns out.)

I learned that perfume fragrance changes with time: the first impression – that first burst of smell – of a perfume is called, “la note de tete”; after a couple of hours, you smell “la note de coeur”; and the final phase, or lingering scent, is called “la note de fond.” (although I’ve been around ladies who put on too much perfume that lingered much too long with a very strong “note de fond”!)

Following are the concentrations of the various grades of perfume, so the next time you are shopping, you’ll know the differences:

Perfume = > 20%
Eaux de parfum = 12-15%
Eaux de toilette = 8-12%
Eaux de cologne = 7%

According to an English physician of the 19th century, “a perfume should correspond to the personality, physical, emotional, and mental characteristics of its wearer, and should be as specific to each woman as the sound of her voice.” (Source: Complete Illustrated Guide to Aromatherapy).

Hmmm, I wonder what this means for me!