Travelogues really are somewhat annoying, yes? But not being annoying isn’t something I do.
After the lovely day at Robertet and Mane, it was a tourist day as we headed off to Cannes, Antibes and St. Paul de Vence. Cannes is kind of a mess, but we did get our pictures taken in front of the big theater on the red carpet. And the yachts. I mean, there’s just no beat-up fishing boats anywhere in that harbor. Something about that just makes me a little sad. Isn’t there a room for just a little bit of a laboring boat in all of that opulence? Maybe not. The main street in Cannes is just lined with all the high end shops – Gucci, Chanel, Hermes, Vuitton. We didn’t stop in there, but we did find a little perfume shop that we descended on like a plague of perfume-crazed locusts. And you know what was in there? The new one from Nasomatto, Nuda. Skanky jasmine!!!!!! Serious love. Just enough indoles in it to keep it interesting, but it doesn’t keep getting interesting so much that you keep having the vague sense that maybe you weren’t careful when you went to the potty. It softens out to a more honeysuckle’ish jasmine after the open – still beautiful, but it doesn’t stay at that level of overpowering, which, while lovely, is too much for me to wear around for several hours. I love it for about 1-1.5 hours, then I need it to wipe itself and stop making a scene.
Several of us bought the Nuda. All of us got some violet and/or rose ice cream from the shop across the street. Ben & Jerry’s would make a killing if they’d throw some violet in one of their ice creams. Off on the tour again. Until we spotted the Micallef store across the street, and we promptly peeled off from the large group for some other shopping and told them we’d see them at the bus later.
Micallef is one of those perfume companies that I think make some gorgeous stuff, a little overpriced in the U.S. market, some of it a little the same, but it always makes me happy to wear it. This store had some things that I hadn’t tried before or even known they made. They make a fig! Which I bought. And I finally got to try that Shannan, a soft, gorgeous incense, which I also bought. I didn’t buy the gardenia or the lily of the valley or some of the other florals, but they were all really pretty. What I didn’t know about Micallef is once you buy the bottle, apparently you can just buy the refills from them directly. I’m not sure exactly how this works, but it’s supposed to be a lot cheaper? If I get around to refilling a bottle, I’ll post the details.
After a lovely panini lunch in the harbor, it was back in the bus for a trip to the Picasso museum in Antibes. Picasso? Not so much for me, but the view from the top of his museum over the harbor is amazing.
Then it was on for the too-short part of our day, the stop in St. Paul de Vence. Picture right above. Seriously cute little town, much like all those walled cities in Italy, one big shopping street through the middle of town, and we had 45 minutes there.. Yes, this is the reason why I’m not crazy about doing anything in groups. Serious shopping needed to be done here, and there was no time to do it.
Back to Grasse, and we had like 30 minutes to grab food, champagne and all the other stuff we had accumulated and head to the room we had decided we were going to have our “getting to know each other” soiree in. We invited everyone on the Sniffa trip to have some light refreshments and champagne with peach liquer (this is way yum, btw) or whatever alcoholic thing they preferred.
You know, that night started off so innocently. By the end of the night, there were men in the pool below us, we had about 15 women and one guy squished onto a small balcony (did I mention how hot and humid it is here?) telling stories, while we hooted and hollered at the one guy in the pool area that decided to drop trou. It’s a good thing we had run out of champagne an hour or two before that happened. It was a great time, and it always makes me so happy to realize how lovely it is when people get together around a shared interest. Many are people you would have never met or thought you had much in common with, but when you start talking about the one thing you both love, that community grows as you get to know those other people beyond perfume. That’s what I love the most about this Sniffa traveling trips – the people you get to meet are really wonderful and warm and interesting and funny. It’s like the days we get to spend here with you guys on the blog, but in person.
Okay, I’ll stop. It’s about 1 in the morning here, and I need to get this done and get to bed! Today was all IFF and Firmenich. What you need to know about today is, well, Fabian. Fabian is the naturals perfumer for IFF. He works just on naturals, the product selection, working with the farmers and extraction to make sure he gets what they need, finding new facets of those naturals. Now, he started off his presentation to this gaggle of women in that bored French way, presenting the tester strips of product for us to sniff. And we had questions, lots of them. As he realized that he was talking to people who really loved this like he did, he got all animated, and his cute little face lit up – wait, did I mention the gorgeous men that work in the perfume plants in Grasse? – and he was joking and teasing us about what was next. It’s an amazing thing to watch someone’s passion emerge as he realized he was with kindred spirits who loved hearing him talk about how the Vetiver dabbed on our wrist would turn into a grapefruit smell in an hour or how they’d found out that not using bamboo for extraction for some other thing had brought out a completely different smell.
So today concluded the factory/plant part of our trip. We have some time to spend at Molinard and Fragonard on Friday, but that’s it. Tomorrow is Nice and Monte Carlo, but I’m skipping that in favor of sleeping in after that amazing meal we had tonight and a leisurely day of reading, lunching, shopping, drinking, pool laying-about, but not necessarily in that order.
Now, one last thing. I get to make a perfume on Friday. Give me 5 notes you would put in a perfume and what your idea behind it is. I’m just so not creative on this stuff, but I’ll happily try and make one of you all’s ideas!