Time to stop and smell the parfum

This was a big day for us. We tidied up our apartment in Nice, handed back the keys to the owner, and headed for the Nice airport, where we had arranged to pick up our car. Americans can get a long-term lease arrangement that avoids VAT and that, in effect, has us buy the car and sell it back when we leave. Our brand-new Peugeot was waiting for us, and all we had to do was figure out how to make it out of the driveway.

Some of you know the drill: I drive and Don, with the aid of the GPS, tells me where to go. This system generally works very well, but I will admit to a bit of, shall we say, perspiration, as we hit the A8. There’s just nothing like driving a strange car in a strange place on strange roads. Love it!

Our first stop was the town of Grasse, famous for its perfume industry. There is a perfume museum, and also a museum in what had been the Fragonard factory. Grasse was covered with flowers which were picked and sorted all spring and summer, and then converted to the fragrances favored at that time. Now the process is managed scientifically in a laboratory, rather than by mixing the oil fragrances. It still requires the human touch, from those with the “nose,” which belongs to the few specialists who train for years. As far as the fragrances themselves, tastes change and styles dictate new directions, which are all beautifully captured in the containers used since the ancients.

It was wonderful seeing the timeline of famous fragrances and observing which ones survive to this day.

We reveled in another gorgeous sunny day and had a lovely lunch by the museum. Those of you who remember Don’s fedora of last fall can weigh in on his fashion accoutrement for France. How do you like the scarf? He is working on adding a gallic shrug.

And then it was on to our next destination, so wonderful it deserves its own story.  A demain!


8 thoughts on “Time to stop and smell the parfum

  1. The natives – so far – have such a grip on the English language that it would be easy to get lazy. But we are getting better and more assertive. I told a woman on our bus to Menton that she had missed a button on her blouse, which buttoned down the back, and asked if she would allow me to fix it. She was very grateful. My finest moment in French so far. Don is doing great on directions and logistics. No philosophical debates yet…

  2. Love the scarf and jacket. However, I find it curious that he is all bundled up and the lady behind him is sleeveless.
    Also love the bottle display ancient to modern. I spied your favored fragrance “L’Air du Temps” with the lovely Laique (I think) doves on top.
    Looks as though you are having great weather so far. I hope your luck holds out. Good luck with the car. I hope the signage in France is better than in Italy. But the then you can both say “how do you get to …..” in French. That’s a plus.

    1. …and the other plus is that our GPS lady happens to be English! Re the weather, the sun is delightfully warm, and the air is cool. Perfect combination. Those of us on the sunny sides of the tables were basking. Good spotting on the L’Air du Temps bottles.

  3. I completely forget about GPS. What a great invention! Have you named her yet? Didn’t have GPS when I was driving in Italy 15 years ago. The up side of no GPS is I visited some lovely “unintended” places.

  4. Gwyneth,eh? Here come the Welsh!
    Ze scarf is perfect. When can we expect the beret?
    Your pictures are a tonic: a reminder that sun DOES shine and summer will come.

    1. Out of loyalty to you! The beret is back in New York. Coals to Newcastle and all that. I am reading a novel which takes place in Scotland and Ireland, and I keep thinking that if those people just had one day of Riviera sunshine a week, their entire history could be rewritten. It is so gorgeous here that one has to invent something to complain about. But, as a taxi driver told us, you aren’t French until you do.

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