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Chanel and the Côte d’Azur: a long-standing love story

Once upon a time, there was a great fashion designer: Gabrielle Chanel, known as “Coco Chanel”, who one day hung her hat on the Côte d’Azur. Falling quickly under its spell, she made it her favourite holiday destination and ended up moving there permanently.

The birth of a famous perfume in Grasse

It was the famous fashion designer journey to Grasse, the world’s perfume capital, which gave rise to the famous No. 5.

In fact, in 1921 she met the parfumier, Ernest Beaux, and asked him for “A feminine perfume with a feminine fragrance”.

Two series of samples numbered from 1 to 5 were presented to her.

And that’s how the fashion designer came to choose No. 5.

While its bottle has changed appearance five times since its creation, it has remained the most sold perfume in France for many, many years.

The reintroduction of the bitter orange tree in Bar-sur-Loup

It had almost vanished from the Bar landscape, but the age-old cultivation of the bitter orange tree groves is making a comeback in the aptly named cité des Orangers [orange tree city], thanks to Chanel.

Mul Aromatiques, the exclusive partner of the Parisian parfumier for more than 40 years, is actually playing a role in the programme to develop the organic cultivation of the bitter orange.

The flowers of this tree produce Neroli essence, one of the ingredients in the famous Chanel No. 5.

Last spring, two hundred and twelve bitter orange trees were therefore planted over 4,000 m².

The first harvest is expected in 6 years’ time.

A villa in the heights of Roquebrune-Cap Martin

Because the Côte d’Azur was her favourite holiday destination, in 1928 Gabrielle Chanel decided to buy land belonging to the Grimaldi family, in the heights of Roquebrune-Cap Martin.

There she would build a villa to suit her taste: La Pausa.

Coco Chanel lived there all year round as of the 1930s and did so for almost 25 years.

Sold in 1954 to the American author and benefactor, Emery Reves, it returned to the bosom of the Chanel company in 2015, when the latter repurchased it in order to use it to broadcast the culture and values of Chanel.

The end of a great love story in Puget-sur-Argens

It was also on the Côte d’Azur, in Puget-sur-Argens, that Gabrielle Chanel would lose the greatest love of her life: Arthur Edward Capel, nicknamed Boy Capel.

This Francophile Englishman, entrepreneur, famous polo player and hero of the first world war, with whom the grand fashion designer shared ten years of her life, died on 22 December 1919 in a road accident on the DN7 in Puget-sur-Argens, aged just 38.

Coco Chanel never recovered from the loss of the man who was also her muse.