A popular destination for tourists and holidaymakers, the Cote d’Azur has a few well-known exports that keep people coming back to visit. From perfumes to pretty confections, the towns in the region have distinctive offerings that mark them out as exceptional.
The home of fragrance, Grasse has over 30 perfumeries that create scents for everything from food to the finest scents you can buy. Considered to be the world’s capital of perfumery since the end of the 18th century, the town not only produces some of the most characteristic smells it is known for training those noses that sniff out the scents that will make a successful eau de cologne.
The town is perfectly placed for growing the flowers from which many of the perfume oils are extracted and is particularly well-known for producing tonnes of jasmine flowers every year.
A number of the famous perfumeries including Fragonard, Molinard and Galinard are based in the town and offer some fascinating insights into the development and growth of the fragrance industry in the town and beyond. For a brief insight into the world of perfume, the historic Fragonard factory offers a free tour around one of the oldest fragrance houses in the town and a fascinating museum that documents the creation and use of fragrances through the ages. The factory also has a gift shop that offers the chance to buy classic fragrances at a fraction of the high street price.
If you really want to get to know the world of perfumes, the fragrance houses of Grasse also offer a range of perfumery classes from 90 minute taster sessions through to week-long personalised courses on developing a fragrance from scratch. There could be few better reminders of a wonderful break than your own personal fragrance blended with the guidance of a master perfumier.
Another popular product of the Cote d’Azur is absinthe. The potent liquor, famously drunk before Van Gogh’s ear-cutting incident, is distilled in Antibes on the coast between Cannes and Nice.
The Absinthe Museum in Antibes offers the chance to learn about the creation of absinthe and the history of this bright green drink through the ages. With a range of different kinds for you to try at a very reasonable price, the servers will show you the traditional way of diluting your shot with iced water dripped carefully through a sugar cube into your glass. You’ll also be able to find a bottle to take home with you to remind you of your travels.
In many patisseries across the world, Macarons are the new cupcakes in the world of confections. These brightly-coloured pastries, which are nothing like the macaroon with which Brits are more familiar, they’re light and airy with a decadent filling of ganache, buttercream or whipped liqueur fondant.
A selection of beautiful Macarons in a range of colours and flavours
With a number of regional variations across France, the Macarons of Marseilles are thought to be the quintessential form of the patisserie. Patisserie Ines on Rue Paradis has a mouth-watering selection of Macarons on a menu that changes every month to make the most of the flavours and colours of the season. Pick up a selection in a presentation box of seven and enjoy a taste of Marseilles wherever you are in the Cotes d’Azur.
The Cote d’Azur has a range of produce that evoke tastes and smells recognisable the world over. On your visit, take the opportunity to sample the iconic food, drink and scents of the region and maybe even take a taste of France with you when you return home.
About the Author: While arranging luxury villa rentals in Menorca and walking tours around Nice, Sally Lynch likes to rejoice herself in the culture and distinct events of Mediterranean region.