History • Perfumes • Montpellier • Made in France
Livre Montpellier, Capitale ancestrale du parfum
If the port of Lattes had not unloaded on its quays spices, unknown fruits, mineral and vegetable drugs, if the hinterland of Montpellier had not received this fabulous aromatic plant treasure, if the School of Medicine and the apothecaries of the Languedoc city had not excelled since the Middle Ages, then the history of Montpellier would undoubtedly never have been linked to that of perfumes, these fragrances that the kings and queens of France have adored over the centuries. This is the story of a history within history that is totally unknown.
Its little plus: Its cover is scented with the perfume of the Montpellier Plant Garden, Eau de Belleval, to invite you to go back in time, a journey through the historical past of Montpellier's apothecaries before plunging into the singular history of this olfactory epic.
• Made in France
Montpellier, Ancestral capital of perfume
The opulence of the counters in the Mediterranean with spices from the Levant, the prestigious University School of Medicine where brilliant scholars teach such as Arnaud de Villeneuve to whom we owe the technique of alcoholic distillation, or even Pierre Richer de Belleval to whom Henri IV entrusted the creation of the Jardin des Plantes at the University of Montpellier, this formidable combination of ingredients, associated with the fabulous aromatic reservoir offered by the Montpellier scrubland, will allow apothecaries to develop unique perfumed compositions and more and more remarkable.
In the 17th century there were more than a hundred merchant-perfumers in the old town and dynasties were thus born. Among the most famous, let us cite that of Sébastien Matte La Faveur who reformulated the Eau de la Reine de Hungary, also called Eau de Montpellier much appreciated by Louis XIV and Mme de Sévigné, that of Jean Fargeon, perfumer of Melle d'Orléans and later Jean-Louis Fargeon, master perfumer to Queen Marie-Antoinette and the Children of France.
The book retraces this formidable epic, that of the history of perfumes and the city of Montpellier, and which today reconnects with this prestigious past.
Photo credit: Musée Carnavalet