Maurin Pisani picked the last of this year’s jasmine flowers and held it to his nose, breathing in the delicate perfume. Behind him the Maritime Alps, beneath, the hills of Grasse rolling to the sea.
“Their smell changes all the time because they are alive. Sometimes of mango, apricot and banana, sometimes almonds and coconut, and when they start to wilt, the animal odour of indole,” said the 34-year-old.
“You mean cat pee,” responded his partner Anne Caluzio, 32, with a laugh.
Joking apart, the couple are living proof that flower power is finally returning to the French Riviera town famed for its scent.
The pair started planting jasmine grandiflorum – a key ingredient in top French perfumes like J’adore L’Or or Chanel number 5 – in their farm in June. It is back-breaking work as every tiny flower has to be harvested by hand over a three-month period.
But if all goes to plan, within four to five years, they will be the second biggest producers of the prized white flower in France.