Recently I spent a morning in the gardens of the Roudnitska home in Cabris, situated in the hills above Grasse. This small area in the South of France is an important one for the perfume industry and a major force in the region. It is here that Edmond Roudnitska founded Art et Parfum after WWII, now under the direction of his son Michel. Fragrance connoisseurs would agree that Edmond Roudnitska is considered one of the preeminent perfumers of the last century due to his creation of such masterpieces as Diorissimo (Dior), Eau Sauvage (Dior), Femme (Rochas) and Le Parfum de Thérèse (Fréderic Malle). What you may not know is that he is also considered a legend for being one of the first perfumers to retain copyright over his works, a rather murky area in the perfume world and not as ‘straightforward’ as other creative fields such as art and music.
Michel Roudnitska has carried on the family tradition and is also a perfumer. He is the nose behind Noir Epices for Fréderic Malle and two perfumes for Australian florist brand Grandiflora amongst many others. The tradition of perfumery is flourishing right here in these grounds and should continue to do so for many years to come.
The photos above : The entrance, home of Accords et Parfum, a photo of Edmond Roudnitska in the entrance to to Accords et Parfum, vintage Dior bottles, a selection of materials in the laboratory.
The grounds are also home to Accords et Parfum run by Olivier Maure. It’s in the laboratory situated in the house (pictured above) that many well known niche perfumes are blended including Dusita, Parfum d’Empire, Naomi Goodsir and many others. The cabinets inside the front door house a large collection of the perfume bottles of the houses that use the laboratory. I was surprised by how many brands use the facility. It’s the place to be it would seem. There are also vintage Dior and Guerlain flacons, a veritable treasure trove and a delight to see. Unfortunately the lighting conditions prevented all but one of these photos from being included. I’ll add that the view from the meeting room is quite exceptional, stretching right out to the Cote D’Azur.
Walking in the garden feels like a slice of perfume heaven surrounded by trees, flowers and beautiful spring air in true Provence style. The grounds are large and I wandered on winding paths surrounded by flowers, twisting around the houses and was able to view the T-shaped swimming pool that Edmond Roudnistka made for his wife. The perfume in her name, (Le Parfum de Thérèse) now in the Fréderic Malle collection was originally a special gift from her husband, to be worn by her alone. Personally I think that this is one of the key fragrances in the Malle range. It perhaps is not the easiest to fall in love with but it is rewarding with hints of Femme and melon ripening the blend to end up as something quite sensational.
I hope you enjoyed this visual wander through the gardens and Accords et Parfums and if you ever get the chance to visit, please take the opportunity. It is a special, almost spiritual place. This visit was courtesy of perfumer Stéphanie Backouche who I interviewed in these gardens recently and Olivier Maure. Thank you!
Let me know if you have any Roudnitska favourite perfumes – Edmond or Michel.