The Perfume Museum

History of a collection

Located on the third floor of the Historical Factory, the Perfume Museum was inaugurated in 1975. This was the very first perfume museum to open its doors in the town of Grasse: a particularly bold initiative at the time. To top off the manufacturing workshop tour experience, Jean-François Costa (the father of the current directors) wanted to offer his visitors the opportunity to see antique objects that tell the history of perfume from antiquity to the present day. Precious perfumery objects (Egyptian blush spoons, medieval pomanders, etc.) are showcased alongside paintings of women grooming and antique Provençal furniture.

Perfumery works of art

The Perfume Museum in Grasse exhibits some one hundred rare perfumery objects from antiquity to the present day. The collection is further enhanced by paintings of women grooming and Provencal furniture. Jean-François Costa had a special taste for 18th century objects and, amongst other things, built up one of the richest collections of pomanders.

From the French “pomme d’ambre” or apple of amber, this small object, often divided into quarters, was used to carry dry perfumes or small scented sponges. These powerfully odorous substances were thought to protect against the miasmas of epidemics. Worn on the belt, as a pendant or held in the hand, pomanders were an item of dress and crafted like real jewellery.

Bergamotes: an 18th century invention from grasse

In the Grasse region, where bergamot trees are grown for perfume making, local craftsmen had the idea, as early as the Regency, of using the scented peel of the fruit to make small boxes. Bergamotes are decorated with delicate landscapes, genre scenes or various motifs (musical instruments, religious subjects, etc.) in the 18th century style. The perfume museum offers an extremely beautiful collection of these boxes, which were given as gifts, often for romantic reasons.

Useful information

  • How to get there

    Grasse town centre
    3rd level of the Historical Factory
    20 boulevard Fragonard
    06130 Grasse
    Indigo CRESP car park opposite the factory, whose entrance is located at 17 boulevard Fragonard.

  • Opening times

    Open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
    Free admission and tours