I am such a night owl. I know this, but realised the truth in it today and admitted by starting my post with confession. My head, for some reasons, become much more clear during the nights. I have been stuck with ideas to write my next blog post, as I feel like being given a bit extra spared time in France to do things I enjoy, rather than repeating the word “thesis”. Truth is that is not true. I am here learning and starting to work for my internship, meaning my “list-to-do” is potentially longer. Yet I still feel the luxury of space and time, as if someone is trying to present them in front of my face, and tell me to take it! And use it wisely to focus on yourself! And don’t you dare deny or try to return to me!…
I have the tendency of wandering around my words (did it again!..) but the point is, today, I visited this small little shop selling potteries and scented soaps/ candles in the La Napoule Center of Mandalieu La Napoule. The name is Creation Ceramiques. I bought two scented soaps and a bag of home-grown lavenders by the shop’s owner herself. So another confession, I am a sucker for nice scented accessories. And being on the French Riviera is now becoming a dangerous jackpot.
The perfume industry on the French Riviera dates from the 18th century, when Grasse, an inland town in the western part of the Alpes-Maritimes, became known as the perfume capital of the world. This was due to the splendid micro-climate that encouraged the culture of the flowers and aromatic plants like lavender and jasmine, among others, enabling the creation of top quality perfumes.
Nowadays, the industry is still thriving, and is a great draw for visitors to the Riviera – for example, there are almost 14.000 hectares of aromatic plants in the region. The main perfume producers, Galimard, Fragonard and Molinard, have large plants in Grasse which organise tours, giving the expression “smelling like a perfume factory” a new meaning when the tourists emerge from there!
I don’t know yet anything about Grasse, as I am trying to learn everything about Mandalieu from scratch, and without the help of tourist office. But surely, Grasse has been added on my list of where-next? in France. I like purple, no, i am obsessed with the color. And I used to link lavender with perfume as the first thing whenever thinking about France. However so, I discovered today in the shop another amazing aromatic plants for perfume: mimosa.
(I had my own picture of my new fresh soap, but I couldn’t get it here, so had to use alternatives from Google).
My boss told me I arrived little later than the mimosa season and I did not feel bad about it until today. The aroma from this plant is particularly amazing. It is a mixture of sweet and sour, even if sourness is blurry. Its aroma is much the same as its colour. For me, seeing and smelling it share one strong bond. I placed it in my clothes drawers. I shared bits from my small bag of lavenders to small boxes and placed in around the house. I had my lavender soap already opened for using in the bathroom. The place soon will be wrapped in the natural scents from these amazing aromatic plants! This is worth one of reasons for you to travel to French Riviera, and learn about perfume making industry. At least, I am sure it have become one of my quest.
Originally from Australia, the mimosa was first introduced in Europe in the mid 19 th century during one of the voyages of Captain Cook. He thrived on the French Riviera thanks to the favourable climate and a silica sol. Planted in 1880 in Croix des Gardes in properties which also spread in the wild throughout the region and perfumes in the air of the countryside … The mimosa will multiply in the region, in Mandelieu, Pégomas, Tanneron or La Roquette. The markets grew and whole cars containing mimosa left daily from La Napoule railway station to the north of France and abroad.
The mimosa is celebrated every year by the inhabitants of Mandelieu-La Napoule. Officially celebrated for the first time in 1931, the Mimosa Festival was a great success. It has continued to grow in scale from its origin of one flower parade at a big party.
According to tradition, the organization of the festival is entrusted to the inhabitants of the town, in a good mood, they bloom freshly picked mimosa tanks. A meticulous braiding branches around the subjects made each year according to the selected theme. The good will of all, gives the party an authentic folk atmosphere recognized by all its visitors.