We had never been to Cannes and had made no plans on what we were going to do. When we got off the tender (this was the first port where the ship could not dock and the lifeboats are used to “tender” passengers onto shore), we found a visitors center and as we considered our options we decided to take a bus ride to the country side to visit a perfume factory. This southern region of France is famous for developing some of the most well-known and popular perfumes in the world such as Chanel #5. As opposed to spending $100 a person for a ship excursion to a perfume
factory we paid our $4 for a round trip bus ride to the city, Grasse that had three of the better known perfume factories in the area.
We found Grasse to be a quaint, old city in the hilly countryside of France. The streets were narrow and adorned with flowers although the season for most flowers was over and we could only imagine how nice the town looked during the summer when it was the prime season for the areas flowers. After taking a short walk through some of the shops and restaurants, we arrived at an old perfume factory (Parfumerie Fragonard) that had been converted into a perfume museum and provided free tours of the perfume factory to explain how perfume is made. The building still did some production of products but most of their perfumes were manufactured at other nearby
It was fascinating to learn about how perfume was made and how the manufacturing process has changed over the years. In one of the pictures you will see one of the original vats that were used to heat up water and one type of perfume ingredient (flower, vanilla, oranges, etc.) to create the oil used in making perfume. This concentrated oil is mixed with other oils to create the exact scent
desired. The person that creates these formulas for the perfume are called the “Nose”. There are less the 50 “Noses” in the world that are capable of identifying the 3000 distinct smells needed when creating perfume. The “Nose” is not allowed to smoke, drink coffee or eat spicy food which
would impact their smell ability. Thousands of students actually study to become a “Nose” but only a rare few ever are able to develop the unique smell sense required for the job.
You will also see one picture on how they previously created perfume oil by placing flower pedals in animal fat. Every day fresh pedals are placed in the animal fat for at least one month until the fat has absorbed enough of the flower scent and can be used for oil. This method was outlawed years ago because of animal right protests. After our perfume factory tour we took another walk through town and headed back to Cannes on the bus.
In Cannes we walked the beach which was filled with sun bathers on a really nice day. We walked to the building that holds the Cannes International Film Festival each year and saw all the stars hand prints that are kept in bronze all around the building. We then strolled through the Old City where there was (of course) a fort and a church. We had some great panoramic views from up in the fort tower. The city of Cannes was really very impressive and we look forward to coming back again sometime.
Saturday we visited Palma Mallorca which is an island of Spain in the Mediterranean Sea. This was
the first time we had been to the island and once again had no specific plans. We walked to the beautiful Cathedral de Mallorca which was a pleasant two mile stroll along the port. This port was nothing more than a very large marina 2 miles long filled with yachts, sailboats, catamarans and other boats. It is hard to imagine how much money is tied up in the boats on this small island.
The Cathedral de Mallorca was really amazing to see from the outside and you could see it anywhere in the city because of its massive size. We would have liked to have gone in but there was a wedding just starting when we arrived and you can see a picture of the bride who had just walked in the front door to go down the aisle with her father. If our daughter, Amber, had gotten married like that we would both be working again and in debt for the rest of our lives, as she had more than 3 wedding planners with her and enough money to close the entire cathedral for
their special wedding! We have no idea who got married but it must have been someone of great importance to the city or island.
We decided to take a Hop On Hop Off bus to see what else was around the city and it was a nice way as a first time visitor to get a good look around the entire city in a short period of time. The bus also took us up to the Castle (Castell de Beliver) which provided a great panoramic view of the whole city. The castle itself was very well preserved and some of the rooms contained marble statues and other relics from the past. We were told the island of Mallorca has more Roman ruins available to see than the entire city of Rome. Evidently the ruins were kept in better shape on the island and were not destroyed by invaders as were many of Rome’s buildings and other
structures. Our visit to Palma was enjoyable and we look forward to someday going back and visiting the island again.
Greg & Sharon