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Lancôme establishes estate to extend sustainable, organic cultivation of roses

By MiNDFOOD

Lancôme establishes estate to extend sustainable, organic cultivation of roses

At the heart of Grasse, France, widely known as the perfume capital of the world, Lancôme has established Le Domaine de la Rose, an ecological horticultural site spanning 9.8 acres (4 hectares) dedicated to biodiversity and low-impact production.

The French luxury beauty house owned by L’Oreal acquired the established land in 2020, not only for the sustainable, organic cultivation of roses and other flowers used in the creation of its famous fragrances, but to help preserve the perfumery savoir-faire the region is known for. 

In 2018, Grasse and its perfumery know-how were awarded world heritage status by UNESCO. Joining its Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list, the area’s expertise in raising perfume plants, knowledge and processing of natural raw materials, and the art of perfume composition were recognised.

The land now known as Lancôme’s Le Domain has been farmed for approximately five centuries, its former owners considered pioneers in organic rose and perfume plant cultivation for more than 50 years according to Lancôme’s Global Brand President Françoise Lehmann.

“The rose has always been dear to Lancôme, says Lehmann.We are very honored and proud of this acquisition, which strengthens our presence in Grasse, the birthplace of the perfume industry. Our aspiration was to restore the estate with respect for its agricultural vocation and the equilibrium of biodiversity, while integrating modern and sustainable renovation techniques.”

Today, Lancôme uses 99% organic roses in its skincare and makeup products. By 2025, the brand plans to use 100% organic roses, 60% of which will be grown in France.

Already established in the area, a 5-acre field in Valensole is where the brand’s signature rose used in its Absolue luxury skincare range is grown. Another field in Grasse grows Centifolia rose, jasmine and lavender, destined for its fragrances. 

Over the past two years significant work has been undertaken at Le Domaine de la Rose with development of new areas and preservation of the grounds, crops and processes that already exist. 

In particular, the centifolia rose, which thrives in the Grasse climate and its unique terroir between the sea and the mountains, is a focus of the site. A plan to use all parts of the rose bush – from the flower, to the petal, stem and even the root – is in progress to develop new active ingredients with zero waste production.

Beyond the existing crops including roses, olive trees, plum trees, fig trees the brand will grow emblematic plants of the Grasse region such as iris, jasmine, lavender, bitter orange, tuberose, and osmanthus, ancient aromatic plants including immortelle, verbena and Madonna lily, as well as maintaining beehives to enhance the bioculture of the area. 

An architectural restoration of the main existing building on the property, now known as the Rose House, was undertaken with local, recycled, and bio sourced materials and passive, bioclimatic design and now boasts a fetching pink exterior thanks to pink lime plaster. 

With an educational distillery and perfume organ – or collection of raw materials that form fragrance notes – the location will be used to share professional expertise among the industry and is expected to also occasionally be open to the public. 

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