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THE ORANGE BLOSSOM, A HERITAGE OF VALLAURIS GOLFE JUAN

Renowned for its pottery, Vallauris-Golfe Juan is no less known for its orange flowers… Orange wine, bitter orange marmalade, orange flower water, a multitude of regional products based on the orange flower can be discovered in Vallauris-Golfe Juan. In fact, the bitter orange tree widely contributed to the town’s economic boom since the end of the 19th century. Today, local producers work exclusively for the House of Chanel.

A MICROCLIMATE IN VALLAURIS FOR AN ORANGE TREE UNLIKE OTHERS

If cultivation of the Bitter orange tree, a small orange tree from 3-10 m in height, rapidly became the jewel of the Vallauris economy as of the end of the 19th century, it was of course thanks to the expansion of the perfume industry, and also, and above all, thanks to a microclimate that is particularly suitable for it. The potters’ city still boasts some forty orange blossom farmers.

To meet an ever-increasing demand for Neroli, the orange blossom essence, four hundred bitter orange trees have recently been replanted on the Château Robert estate.

The bitter orange has a specific feature compared to other orange trees; all its parts can be used, and its properties are used for pharmaceutical purposes, food, perfumes and cosmetics. This is why this orange tree requires strict care. In Vallauris-Golfe Juan, the climate and the soil are perfectly suited to growing the tree.

Coping with temperatures as cold as -8°C, the Côte d’Azur microclimate allows it to achieve its maximum lifespan of 600 years!

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Une publication partagée par Nérolium (@nerolium_officiel)

A QUALITY UNIQUE IN FRANCE

The orange blossom produced in Vallauris-Golfe Juan is unique in France.

Vallauris-Golfe Juan, with the town of Bar-sur-Loup, is the only location where the flower is still grown. A few producers, who are true to their roots, continue to produce this according to age-old know-how.

So, while the harvest today borders on 15 tonnes compared to 2467 in 1912, the precious little flower nevertheless remains in great demand from the major perfumiers.

An integral part of the identity of Vallauris-Golfe Juan, a traditional festival is organized in its honour every year in May, the time when they pick the flowers. This bucolic festival offers parades of flower pickers in period costume, shows, lunch, a ball, competitions, demonstrations, etc.

A date not to miss!

NEROLIUM: A COOPERATIVE TO PRESERVE LOCAL HERITAGE

The creation of the Nérolium agricultural cooperative dates back to the end of the 19th century. The boom in perfume in the town of Grasse required ever more raw materials. The first true flower farms developed, and in particular the cultivation of the bitter orange tree in Vallauris and Bar-sur-Loup.

However, the perfume manufacturers imposed their conditions on the owners of the bitter orange trees. The latter therefore decided to band together in an agricultural union so as to no longer be subject to their control. It was only in 1904 that the union decided to distil the bitter orange blossom itself and in order to so became a cooperative. The cooperative still exists, but for safety reasons the distillation is now entrusted to the Maison Mul factories.

Today, the bitter orange tree ecomuseum can be visited and you can top up with regional products in the Nérolium shop.

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Une publication partagée par Nérolium (@nerolium_officiel)

AN EXCLUSIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH THE HOUSE OF CHANEL

The House of Chanel and the Côte d’Azur have had a special relationship since the 19th century, the time when Gabrielle Chanel, otherwise known as “Coco Chanel”, moved to the Côte d’Azur.

The neroli produced from the orange blossom in Vallauris-Golfe-Juan is sold solely to the House of Chanel. The precious “Nectar” is in fact a component in truly great perfumes, such as the famous Chanel No. 5.

In 2020, the House of Chanel and the Mul family, in partnership since 1987, implemented a programme to plant 600 bitter orange trees in Vallauris-Golfe Juan. Wishing to go from 5 tonnes of flowers produced to 50 tonnes, the desire is to revive the “orange blossom” industry and make this viable and sustainable, as well as controlling product traceability.

“PARIS-RIVIERA is a bright, floral fragrance in the image of the joyful and sunny spirit of the Côte d’Azur of the 1920s.” Olivier Polge, the Chanel nose.

THE ORANGE BLOSSOM
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