THE VIOLET, A HISTORIC ACTIVITY
The viola odorata is grown for its olfactory and gustatory properties, which serve for making perfumes and confectionary, respectively.
The people of Tourrettes first grew the Parma violet, also produced in Toulouse. Then, the Victoria variety was progressively imposed, to become the main flower grown in the village.
The Tourrettes violet grows from October to March on small, terraced plots. Its cultivation has always been based on manual labour, demanding good physical abilities.
Horticulturists use it to create the bouquets sold between Christmas and Valentine’s Day. It also symbolizes shyness and secret love.
In addition, it serves to create confectionary and derived products. Chefs use the violet in cuisine to create dishes and desserts. The leaves are also harvested outside the flowering period for the perfume industry.
Tourrettes remains the only place in France where violet production is the main, or even the sole activity of horticulturists. The fame of the Tourrettes violet grew over the years and continues to be spoken of around the world.
Every year since 1952, a festival is held in its honour. On 6 March 2010, the town also inaugurated the Bastide aux Violettes, a living museum devoted to this flower and to the know-how of the producers.