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FRANCE / Grasse: Chanel opposes Tgv and threatens to leave Grasse

December 13 2016

For over thirty years, Grasse is the historic home of the maison of rue Cambon in which the iconic fragrance No 5 is produced. Chanel, today, threatens to leave the famous Provencal small city, known as the perfume capital of the world. The cause is a project of 6,7 billion euro for the new Tgv line, the French high-speed trains, which involves the construction of a viaduct to cross the Siagne valley. It’s exactly in this area that Chanel cultivates the prestigious flowers used to make the legendary fragrance. A dozen May roses and 1.000 jasmines for every 30 millilitre bottle of No 5. “The construction of a viaduct and the regular passage of high-speed trains over these fields of flowers would force Chanel to cease supporting its artisanal activities in the region”, the fashion house said in a statement, highlighting that the quality of the flowers harvested around the region is unique and exceptional.

Grasse, situated in the south of France, is the cradle of perfumery since the 17th century. Here Ernest Beaux, inventor of Chanel No 5, choses the jasmine for his perfume. Since than, in the territory, only a few enthusiasts keep cultivating flowers. Among these, the Mul family, large growers in Grasse, with whom Chanel formed an exclusive partnership in 1987 to safeguard a long and important tradition of horticulture. After some time, in 2009, the maison opposed the installation of a landfill not far from the flower fields that are the raw materials of its essences. Instead this time, in alliance with David Lisnard, the mayor of Cannes, Chanel asks for a change of the project, which is oriented to reduce the rail connections between Marseille and Nice, in addition to increase frequency of the French regional express trains.

In 1921 mademoiselle Coco decided to create her fragrance, declaring to yearn a “woman’s perfume with a woman’s scent”. Chanel No 5 was born. An incredible success. Icon of the 20th century and currently one of the best selling perfumes in the world.