The Art of Perfume in Grasse : The Course Program

The aim of my Provence class this spring is threefold: to explain how to smell like perfumers, to introduce the landmarks that changed perfume history and to offer a basic technical understanding of perfume composition. With this knowledge you can appreciate fragrances on a deeper level as well as fine-tune your senses in general. The class will take place on April 5-9th in Provence, France. Below is the course program.

WEDNESDAY, April 5
A welcome meeting.

THURSDAY, April 6
Day 1: Inside A Perfumer’s Garden and A Visit to the Perfume Lab

The introduction to our course will be a visit to Edmond Roudnitska’s house and garden. You will see where the legendary perfumer worked, learn about his approach to fragrance and explore his favorite scented plants. You will meet Michel Roudnitska, who is a respected perfumer with his own distinctive style, and he will give you a tour around the estate.

Then you will visit Art et Parfum perfume laboratory, the same place where many niche houses blend their fragrances, to see how artisanal perfume production operates.

After lunch, you will explore Grasse and we will learn about perfume history at the Grasse Perfume Museum.

The view from Edmond Roudnitska’s office

FRIDAY, April 7
Day 2: How We Smell

This day will start off with an exploration of historical fragrances such as the aromatics favored in the perfumes of Ancient Greece , Egypt, Iran and Mughal India. You will also try the rare jasmine enfleurage essence. Then we will cover iconic perfumes from Guerlain Jicky to Shiseido Feminité du Bois. We will smell the original formulations of fragrances like Guerlain Shalimar, Coty Chypre, Guerlain L’Heure Bleue, Guerlain Rue de la Paix, Caron Poivre, Coty Emeraude and the Chanel classics. By the end of our three days together, you will discover more than fifty different vintage perfumes and aromatics.

You will also perform exercises to sharpen your sense of smell and learn the basic materials in a perfumer’s palette.

In the evening there will be free time to explore (the hotel is in Juan-les-Pins, a charming town on the Mediterranean Sea.)

SATURDAY, April 8
Day 3: The Art of Perfumery
During the third day, you will learn to create a series of fragrance accords and scent associations. You will work with high grade essences and discover the best osmanthus, tuberose, jasmine and rose absolutes available today, including a few materials not available outside of a perfumer’s lab.

There will be several practical exercises.

In the final part of our workshop, we will continue with explorations of more legendary fragrances and the stories behind them.

SUNDAY, April 9th
Wrap up

This schedule may be modified depending on the number of participants and their interests.

My course requires no prior knowledge of perfumery, and my goal at the end of the long weekend is to explain the fundamentals of perfumery and give you a richer understanding of scents in general.

The course is run by Science & Vacation and you can find more details and schedules on their website. For those who want to explore the area and stay longer, there is a week long option with several guided tours around Provence. If you have any questions about my course specifically, don’t hesitate to ask. For all other questions, such as logistics, schedules and costs, please contact Science and Vacation directly through their website.

Photography by Bois de Jasmin, Grasse

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17 Comments

  • Nora Szekely: Dear Victoria and perfume lovers,

    I’m so excited about the program. I can’t wait for April. January 30, 2017 at 7:32am Reply

    • Victoria: Wonderful, Nora! I look forward to it! January 30, 2017 at 10:02am Reply

  • limegreen: What an amazing opportunity. Will have to just be envious of Nora and others who can participate!
    I have this circled for when I’m retired, and hope you will still offer these programs in the distant future, Victoria. (Yeah, I know, wistful thinking…..) January 30, 2017 at 7:58am Reply

  • behemot: I am seriously thinking about taking the weekend class, but it depends on my schedule- hope to find out soon:) January 30, 2017 at 11:45am Reply

    • Victoria: Fingers crossed! It would be so nice to meet you. The best part of the last course was meeting my other readers. You are a fun group! 🙂 January 30, 2017 at 11:47am Reply

      • behemot: I would love to come and meet you and other wonderful people:) January 30, 2017 at 2:01pm Reply

        • Victoria: Hope it all works out! January 30, 2017 at 3:15pm Reply

  • maggiecat: I need a wining lottery ticket..the demands of my job and my budget will keep me from attending, but this sounds so wonderful! Maybe someday… January 30, 2017 at 1:01pm Reply

    • Victoria: I hope so! Definitely would love to organize a get together for all of you. January 30, 2017 at 3:14pm Reply

  • Rashmi: Hello Victoria, I too am very curious and excited about this special course. I have never been to Europe and it is my desire to explore France and Switzerland this April for 3 weeks. I would love to put this course in my itinerary.

    I am a native from Nepal but live in the US. Because you know so much about the Indian culture (besides the perfumes of course) that is very similar to Nepali culture, I am sure I will get an opportunity to discuss about a plethora of subjects with you if your time permits.

    Victoria, could you please suggest as to what the closest Airport would be near the hotel? If I land in Paris then should I take the train?

    Thank you
    Regards,
    Rashmi January 31, 2017 at 12:22am Reply

    • Victoria: Rashmi, it would be wonderful! I also would love to know about the culture of Nepal. Since moving to Belgium, where there is a sizable Nepalese diaspora, I’m discovering so many more fascinating things–and the owner of my favorite tea shop here is Nepalese. As I type, I’m drinking a Nepalese black tea he brought from his last trip. The afternoon after each workshop session is our free time, so we’ll have plenty of opportunities to talk about all sorts of topics (and for those who are not tired, to continue smelling. 🙂

      As for the logistics, the nearest airport would be Nice. But Marseilles is also an option. If you land in Paris, you can fly to Nice or you can also take a train to Antibes. It takes more than 5 hours, but if time is not an issue, it’s a good way to see more of the country. I can put you in touch with our guide and organizer in Provence, who will help with all of the travel arrangements, since she might know better the times and costs of each option. January 31, 2017 at 2:41am Reply

  • Doreen: Hello Victoria,

    First, I’d like to introduce myself as someone who has been following your Instagram and also dropping in here not frequently enough. So it’s time I should say hi and thank you!

    Second, this sounds wonderful! Although I cannot go, I’d like to wish the best on this workshop!

    All the best! January 31, 2017 at 3:33pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a pleasure to meet you, Doreen! Thank you for stopping by and for your nice wishes. 🙂 February 1, 2017 at 4:50am Reply

      • Doreen: Thank you Victoria – all the best. More soon. I follow you on IG as verdant faerie and love those posts. so nice to be here. February 6, 2017 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Lorie McMillin: Just sent in my reservation for the full week. Coming from the US. Very excited to tour Grasse and the Roudnitska lab where Mona di Orio trained! I hope his Lily of the Valley will be in bloom! February 18, 2017 at 11:29am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m very much looking forward to meeting you, Lorie. Keeping fingers crossed that all spring flowers will be in bloom. February 20, 2017 at 2:43pm Reply

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