4 Olfactory Destinations To Experience In A Lifetime
With the main holiday season of the year now coming to an end and Autumn just around the corner you might want some ideas for your next trip. In which case, I might have a few ideas for you. Perhaps you’re looking for a holiday with a different perspective. Maybe somewhere which has a cultural twist but also where you can still enjoy long days languishing in sunshine. Have you considered somewhere where you could enjoy the experience of delicious fragrance? I’m assuming that you are reading this blog because you are interested in scent and as an aromatherapy candle-maker; I’ve spent much of my holidaying time finding new scents. This means I’ve travelled to many different places well-known for their essential oils.
Bearing the above in mind, here are the Petits Rituels favourite holiday places, what they’re famous for and a little more information on each area. I’d love to know if you do visit them!
I’m French so I have to mention my favourite areas of France. Grasse is located in the Alpes-Maritimes area of France, part of the French Riviera situated 10.5 miles from Cannes. It is the perfume capital of the world and perfume has been manufactured in the area since the 16th century.
The main reason why it’s so famed for fragrance is because of the abundance of different flowers grown in the area and these flowers produce so many of the essential oils found in perfume. Grasse is renowned for roses, jasmine, lavender, violet, and mimosa.
It’s also hot during the summer so it’s a real treat for tourists who want to experience the French coast without traditional tourist traps.
Make Your Own Perfume
If you do visit, make sure you go to the Galimard Perfumery Workshop for a tour; you can even have a go at creating your own scent! Other perfume factories also offer tours, visit the Fragonard or the Molinard factories if they’re nearer to your hotel. Don’t miss out on visiting the Musée International de la Parfumerie which is home to over 3,000 years of perfume history. There is also a flower garden outside which smells heavenly.
A Candle To Take You To Grasse
To sample the irresistible scent of Grasse, I recommend my Floral Sensations candle a heady combination of Lavender from Grasse, Geranium and Rose.
Situated in the south-east of France and on the stunning Mediterranean, historic Provence has always been a popular area for tourists who want something that gives them more than a sandy beach and clear blue waters.
The Lavender Fields
I am particularly fond of the area which is known for its lavender fields. When in full bloom, the fragrance of the lavender travels for miles and is quite intoxicating! As well as the fields, there are plenty of other areas with sweeping olive trees and scented pine trees, there’s a scent to Provence that you won’t find anywhere else on earth.
Many Cities To Explore
The third most important region of France, Provence is home to 1.6 million people. The cities in the area include Marseilles, Nice, Toulon and Avignon. The old city of Nice hasn’t much changed in its structure since the 1700’s so it’s a must-see with its small, winding cobbled streets and historic old buildings that have been reconstructed and are now homes to popular delis, boutiques and boucheries! While in Nice, if you’re a beach-lover you must stroll down the Promenade des Anglais which stretches along the seafront and is a huge paved area popular for walkers, skaters and cyclists. If you’re feeling particularly sporty, you can rent bikes, skates and scooters to join in.
Take a drive to Avignon and visit the splendid Palais des Papes which was erected in 1309 by Pope Clement V and is the largest Gothic palace in the world. It’s not to be missed especially if you’re a history lover. While on the subject of history, visit Rhone where you’ll see the Pont St-Benezet, a 900 metre long bridge with 20 arches. There is an old legend that says Pastor Benezet had three saintly visions requesting that he build this bridge. It was finished in 1185.
Finally, for art lovers visit Aix-En-Provence where you’ll find the Musee Granet and houses some incredible artworks by Picasso, Monet, Van Gogh and Matisse.
A Candle To Take You To Provence
To capture the scent of Provence, I recommend my aptly named Provence candle, with the scent of Lavender from the region, it’s always transports me back to one of my favourite places in the area!
I really do adore Spain with its colourful Flamenco dancers and sing-song language all in a stunning backdrop of palm trees, orange trees, bright sunshine and historical cobbled streets. There’s something about the country that makes me want to dance! It is full of exotic fragrances, it’s lively and vibrant and somewhere I always feel happy when I visit.
The Orange Blossom Trees
Seville is the inspiration for my Orange Gourmande candle and rather like Provence, there is a certain scent that hangs deliciously in the air. It is a scent of sweetly perfumed oranges mixed with the warmness of the air, a scent that smells very much like a glorious perfume. The fragrance comes from the orange and lemon blossoms from the trees that are dotted all over the area. As well as the trees, Seville is a heavenly place for garden lovers because you can’t turn down a street without coming across somewhere full of colourful flowers dancing in that warm breeze!
Culture of Seville
When in Seville you must visit the Museum of Flamenco which is a rich history of the famous seductive Spanish dance and don’t miss out on the Alcazar Palace. Eat delicious little tapas in the old town while watching the world go by and then take an exploratory trip through the Santa Cruz quarter down its narrow, atmospheric little stony streets.
La Semana Santa Festival
I think the best time to visit Seville is the end of March (29th for a week) as it’s the Semana Santa festival which marks the last few days of Christ’s life. The streets are full of ornate processions with decorated floats and thousands of people fill the area dressed in long robes with pointed hoods. It’s spectacular, especially during the evening when the streets are lit up by candles!
A Candle To Take You To Seville
To bring Seville into your home, try my Orange Gourmande candle which is sweet and fruity, whenever I want to be reminded of the region, I light one.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to enjoy a truly exotic long-haul trip to magical India please try and factor in some time to visit the Jasmine Fields in Mandurai, situated in the Tamil Nadu state of India. These jasmine fields are what the area is famed for and the subject of an early Tamil poem called Mallipoo (jasmine). The poem was written many thousands of years when jasmine was abundant all around the ancient city and pays tribute to its wondrous fragrance.
Jasmine and Religion
Jasmine is still a huge part of Tamil culture today and has much Hindu symbolism. The matron of Madurai, Goddess Meenakshi is dressed with Mallipoo every night in preparation for when she meets with her beloved husband, Lord Shiva.
Jasmine and Perfume
Most jasmine-based perfumes of the world are made using essential oils that come from this region of India and I learned much about the blossom when I visited. For example, did you know that once the bud blooms, it loses its fragrance which is why it is important to capture the scent before the bud dies (24 to 36 hours). The flower also only buds between October and February and the reason it thrives in this area of India is because of the sulphur rich soil. The harvesting of jasmine begins very early in the morning, sometimes as early as 5am. It is undertaken by local women who work in the fields to supplement their income (most of them work in the local markets too).
Other Mandurai Places To Visit
Apart from visiting the jasmine fields, Madurai is a small village rich in colourful Indian life. There is a flower market called the Mattuthavani Market which opens very early in the morning and really is something extra special to experience as it’s extremely colourful and fragrant. There is also a magnificently ornate and opulent temple (Meenakshi Temple) dedicated to Meenakshi Ammal, the Goddess.
The area is also famed for brick making and you will catch a glimpse of women carrying huge bricks in the scorching heat. As well as bricks and jasmine, Mandurai is home to bananas, chillies and peppercorns all of which are grown in the vast, never ending fields and play a large part in the area’s economics.
A Candle To Take You To Mandurai
To sample a flavour of the Mandurai area, try my Sensual Healing candle which is a rich blend of jasmine sambuc (from Mandurai!), Ylang Ylang, Rose and Lavender reminiscent of exciting, exotic India.
I’d love to know what holiday destinations you recommend and why so do let our Petits Rituels readers into your secret escapes!
Nathalie Allard is an Artisan Perfumer and the founder of Petits Rituels. She’s known for creating beautiful room-transforming 100% natural fragrances with real therapeutic benefits.