Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Grasse, Fragonard and the French Riviera

We set off early on Monday morning for Grasse, picturesque hilltop town whose main trade is that of perfume-making, based on all-natural ingredients and meticulous traditional processes, following principles invented by the Egyptians.
After two hours spent in the Musee International du Parfum, we headed across the street to the Fragonard-owned museum of Provencal Costume and Jewellery, a very small collection but perfect for a whizz-in, whizz-out visit, as there is an irresistible Fragonard boutique on the way out. Beware!

lovely bag...
When you're done with gorgeous perfume and luxurious bath products, hop across the street to Fragonard confidentiel, selling jewellery and clothes. I tried on a to-die-for black one-size-fits-all coat made in Kashmir, India, which I shall have to try and re-create in a shorter version at home...
When you've had enough of bright blue slippers, coral necklaces and printed blouses, trip further down the street to Fragonard Maison and admire handmade boutis quilts, printed bedlinen and hand-embroidered napkins. On the way you might just notice the small Longchamp boutique...
For dinner, head down to Cannes for an Italian meal by the harbour, looking out at the vast collection of yachts, then take a midnight stroll along La Croisette, snapping shots of the windows of Chanel, Miu Miu, Prada and the like. Oh, and be sure to pose on the red carpet of the Grand Auditorium (where the glamourous Cannes Film Festival takes place)!
On day 2, we left Grasse behind and headed off to the picturesque world-famous coastal village St Tropez along a congested, windy but extremely picturesque coastal route. The shopping facilities are very diverse: you have the choice between Lancel, Hermes and Emporio Armani or your average thrift shop... the shoe-shopping is also great. What you should buy? A pair of Tropezienne sandals (take a look a these tiny ones in a shop that has been making these traditional sandals since 1927).

Another must is to pop into the Brigitte Bardot exhibition, with trailers, pictures, clothes... this tribute to the French equivalent of Marilyn Monroe will top off a sun-soaked day. She is the only person I know who can get away with under-eye mascara without looking as if she has adorned her optical organs with dead arachnids, unless everyone who so does up their face desires to aquire that effect. However, I thought the gift shop a bit thin on the ground. Wouldn't that be a fun job, deciding what museum gift shops would sell?
View out of the car window on the coastal route

Look at these mini sandals! Made for a child nowhere near walking....
on a merry-go-round on the way out of town
Beautiful bag in the window of Hermes

Dress and jacket in Manoush

Dolce Gabbana dress

Lanvin mannequins

Celine wedges in a boutique called 'Joanna' on the Place des Lices

Boutis dress in 'Joanna'

Brigitte bardot's wedding dress for her second marriage to Jacques Charrier

Classic Bardot style: naval top and big cattail eyes: instant holiday chic

Colourful houses of St Tropez

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