People always strive for the impossible - after all, this is what drives progress. For many centuries, many perfumers have tried to catch the elusive - tempting, tasty smells: their elusiveness, ephemerality, volatility, conveying feelings of happiness, moments of childhood, warmth of native hands, heart sinking from first love …
I remember that the character of the book “Perfume” by Patrick Suskind made the farthest advance in the matter of preserving the only scent that is attractive to absolutely everyone. This, however, cost the lives of those on whom he experimented, and to himself in the end, but it was worth it, as the hero of Suskind believed.
Indeed - is it possible to preserve the smell so that you can make a whole museum, whose visitors every day, at any time convenient for them, could come and breathe elusive? As practice shows, yes, it is possible. There are many museums in the world that have learned to preserve scents for contemporaries and descendants. Of course, most of them are located in France.
French scent museums
One of the most visited and beautiful museums in Paris is the Musée Fragonard Perfumery Museum. It was named after the French painter and graphic artist Jean Honore Fragonard (1732-1806), who was once born in the town of Grasse, in the south of France. After all, the world perfume capital is not found in Paris, but in this town and, by the way, that is why part of the action of Suskind's novel “Perfume” took place there.
The Fragonard Museum is based on the artist's wonderful works, antique furniture - a witness of eras, and historical artifacts, with the help of which the world's best perfumes were once created: spent copper pots and glass flasks. The museum-salon is divided into three sections: "Perfumery", where fragrances from all over the world are collected, "The Art of Living" - here home decorations and design items are presented, and "Fragonard Confidentiel", where you can buy jewelry made of semi-precious stones, as well as jackets and tunics made of cotton and silk.
In the south of France, on the Cote d'Azur, in the small Provencal town of Grasse - the perfume capital of the world - with numerous perfume factories, there are many small museums where you can get acquainted with the history of perfumery.
It was in Grasse that 400 years ago, not a laboratory at a pharmacy, but the first perfumery factory was first established. This was facilitated by the fertile Provencal area: for centuries on the outskirts of the city, narcissus, jasmine, lavender, mimosa, orange blossom, exquisite Centifolia rose - the prototype of the capricious Rose from the "Little Prince" by Exumeri. Perhaps this rose is the real most valuable creation in the world: once brought from the Crusades, it gives its unique aroma only in the valley of Grasse and in no other corner of France.
Oriental perfume museums
Well, after the king of smells - the city of Grasse with its fragrance museums - in the second place in popularity can be put at once several museums located in Cuba, Holland, and Cairo.
In Cuba, in Havana, there is a museum with a rich collection of bottles, the contents of which still keep the smell of perfume belonging to the island's colonialists. In the Dutch Speicherstadt, the Spice Museum is fragrant, preserving thousands of exotic scents. And Egyptian Cairo is famous, besides the pyramids and everything else, for the largest Oriental Perfume Museum. The scents presented there cannot but enchant the admirers of the most sophisticated scents.
Smells of Russia
There are two places in Russia where the aromas of the past and the present are preserved: in the St. Petersburg Museum of Perfumery and in the Yekaterinburg Museum of History.
There is no specialized Museum of Smells in Yekaterinburg, but despite this, the Museum of the History of Yekaterinburg has a unique exhibition dedicated to the ancient smells that filled the city centuries ago. Specific aromas are stored in special reservoirs: stove smoke and manure, pine forest and stinking saltopen, corrosive steam locomotive smoke and an explosive mixture of "gluttonous row" aromas.
The St. Petersburg Museum was opened not so long ago and it is intended to preserve for mankind the memory of disappearing fragrances and the perfume culture of the past.