Before becoming the emblem of French elegance, perfume crossed many borders. Since its arrival in Europe, the art of perfumery has undergone various evolutions, both in its form and in its composition. Over the centuries and through social changes, the French perfumery has finally become a true art of living…
The arrival of perfume in Europe
If the origin of perfume goes back to the dawn of time, it is necessary to wait a few more centuries for the French perfumery to see the light of day and to know its current influence. In ancient times, the Egyptians as well as the Greco-Roman civilizations developed considerably the very first forms of perfume. First created for religious rituals, it is gradually used for seduction. At that time, trade took off and trading posts multiplied between Europe and the East.
Perfume arrives in Europe from the 13th century with the return of the Crusades. These knights brought back with them unknown spices and new toiletry habits. People began to apply scented materials directly to their skin. Others also proceeded to macerate in “vinegars” to create scented decoctions. It is in 1370 that the first perfume made in France is born with the water of the Queen of Hungary. This fragrance is in fact an alcoholate of rosemary whose aesthetic powers and therapeutic virtues are praised.
The beginnings of perfume made in France
Perfume of the Renaissance
During the Middle Ages, Venice was still considered the epicenter of perfumery in Europe. It is the arrival of Catherine of Medicis, and her perfumer René the Florentine, at the French court in the 16th century that will propel the art of perfumery as a French symbol. It is also at this time that Grasse wins its spurs. The city becomes famous for the culture of perfume plants and the elaboration of perfumed essences. The fame of the French perfume is further encouraged during the following centuries, especially thanks to Louis XIV. Very fond of fragrances, animal scents as well as flowery notes, he perfumed the whole court, from the feet to the wig! Perfume then became a French emblem of refinement and wealth, in the eyes of the whole world.
The birth of the great French perfumery
The entire French bourgeoisie swears by perfumed products, from scented powders to impregnated fabrics. To meet this new and growing demand, master perfumers set up their stores all over Paris. In 1774, L.T. Piver created “À la Reine des Fleurs“, a shop where precious juices were made and sold. It was the very first perfumery in the country. It would pave the way for other creators, notably Jean-François Houbigant one year later, who chose “À la Corbeille des Fleurs” on the Faubourg Saint-Honoré as his sign. The French Revolution will mark a halt in the history of perfume, which will become the symbol of a too privileged royalty. But this stop will be far from being definitive. A few years later, perfume will come back to the forefront of the French scene.
The French perfumery in the modern era
At the end of the 19th century, Paris experienced a real revival thanks to a great hygienist period led by Baron Haussmann. This massive “cleansing” allowed the city to breathe again and favored the introduction of synthetic products in perfumery, to market it massively. Paris, with the support of Grasse for the supply of natural materials, became the world center of fragrance production. The great perfume houses made a name for themselves and captured a wealthy international clientele. The mention Paris or made in France became a guarantee of quality and authenticity. This influence was greatly supported by the Guerlain dynasty. In 1889, the house signed Jicky, the very first modern perfume made in France. Aimé Guerlain participated in the creation of the national union of the French perfumery industry.
This French know-how is exported in Europe, but also in the United States. The qualifiers of luxury and elegance will be even more used to talk about French perfumery when the greatest fashion designers of the country will launch their first creations. Little by little, perfume became more democratic and global. But since then, French perfumery has always kept its fame and prestige. In the last few years, and especially thanks to the advent of niche perfumery, the made in France fragrance appears even more as a very sought after quality brand.
Carrément Belle : perfumes made in France
French manufacturing was an obvious choice when we embarked on this great adventure. We have been working for more than 30 years to highlight the exceptional know-how of our French partners and craftsmen, which you will find on this map. From Grasse where the perfume is designed, to Grignan for the shaping of the cases, to Nîmes where your fragrances are filled one by one by hand, the made in France is our mantra. This local manufacturing coupled with a manual assembly is not the easiest choice daily. But it allows us to offer you unique fragrances, thought, designed and bottled with love, just for you. While remaining confidential, far from the large distribution networks, we take care to honor this beautiful historical and cultural heritage of French perfumery by offering you uninhibited creations!
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