About Arts & Crafts in Cannes
Although better know for its Film Festival, Cannes also has a rich history in other visual arts, including painting, sculpture and photography.
With plenty of museums and galleries to visit the small town of Cannes has a rich history in classical art, with its Roman heritage, as well as contemporary painting, with artists such as Picasso and Yves Klein.
However, the area is possibly best known for it's perfume trade. It was Catherine de Medici back in the 16th century who first cultivated the idea of fragrancing leather gloves (so the gentry could mask the smell of their surroundings). As a tanning town, Grasse already produced the leather gloves, and the flower farms grew alongside to develop perfumerie into a mature industry of its own. Flowers thrived in the mild climate, with the main crops being rose, jasmine, mimosa and lavender.
Coco Chanel No 5 was first produced in Grasse in the 1920's and now, the town not only processes its own local flowers, but acts as an international manufacturing centre for raw materials produced globally. Once the flowers are picked, they undergo extraction techniques to release the essential oils which is then concentrated into a wax. The wax can be stored for several years, and alcohol is used to release the oils when required. The oils are then blended to produce the desired perfume.
Four manufacturers ( Fragonard, Galimard, Mane, and Moulinard) in the area are open to the public for tours and sales and there is a museum dedicated to the art of perfumerie - the Musee International de la Parfumerie. The Salon des Parfums on the outskirts of Grasse carries over 80 perfumes and other scented household goods. Festivals are dedicate to the rose (mid May) and to jasmine (early August), comprising of parades and floats, and market stalls selling all things related.