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SCENT OF A CITY

Grasse may be within just a whiff of the renowned Riviera coast, but as Perfume Capital of the World, this French hill town has forged a character all its own.

The transformative journey from a center of the French leather tanning industry (with appalling odors) into the fragrant birthplace of such couture fragrances as Chanel No. 5 and Miss Dior began in the mid sixteenth century.  Perfume met leather when French King Henri II’s Florentine-born Queen Consort Catherine de Medici brought the wildly popular fashion for perfumed gloves to France from her native Italy.

Gallic producers soon stepped forward to meet popular demand for new luxurious compositions. With the ultra-refined French court as ambassadors — Louis XIV was considered the sweetest-smelling monarch — and thanks to its brilliantly imaginative scent makers called “noses,” French perfumes continue to dominate the market.

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PHOTOGRAPHY BY MIGUEL FLORES-VIANNA
WRITTEN BY JEAN BOND RAFFERTY

This story appeared in the Spring 2017 issue of MILIEU.