27th June 2022

Awakening on the French Riviera, With Tonya

Today’s transformative travel story takes us to the French Riviera with Tonya Kidd-Beggs, Founder of global fragrance brand, Stories Parfum.

Expert Travel Tip – If you’re interested in fragrance, I highly recommend visiting the world-renowned perfumeries in Grasse, France.  Most importantly, be sure to book your visit in advance – especially in the busier spring and summer months!

A story told in scent

The historic town of Grasse, on the French Riviera, is home to the International Fragrance Museum and is known the world over as the heart and soul of the global fragrance industry. Unsurprisingly, Stories Parfum Founder and fragrance guru Tonya Kidds-Beggs has made many a pilgrimage to this captivating part of the world. She told us with rapturous delight of Grasse, an ancient town just off the south coast of France, nestled in the hillside like a rustic, sweetly scented bouquet of orange blossom, jasmine and lavender.

By far the most momentous of Tonya’s trips to Grasse was the first, made alone, in 2017. Tonya – who has always believed in the transformative magic of scent – made the journey to mark the start of a new chapter in her life, and to learn the art of perfumery. She had no idea that her intended “hobby” would grow to become a life-changing career, nor that she’d come away having relearned her own, long-forgotten, secrets, thanks to the healing power of scent.

“Fragrance has always helped me connect to who I am, and to those who matter most to me. I was never able to meet my maternal Grandmother, but as a child I grew up feeling I knew her through the scent of her favourite perfume.” – Tonya Kidds-Beggs

Childhood trauma sadly left Tonya with no memories prior to 12 years of age. She found peace through counselling but had still never managed to unlock her forgotten memories – until her time in France, in 2017. Here, she was able to revisit and work through parts of her history she’d long believed to be lost, to complete her healing journey.

Tonya says she felt her new beginning start to take shape the very moment she arrived in Nice. She recalls driving along the Côte d’Azur in a rented Fiat 500 with the top down and the sun smiling gently on her shoulders, sensing truth just over the horizon. Her days were spent at the perfumery in Grasse; her nights, unwinding in the mediaeval clifftop village of Èze, exploring ancient alleys and taking in breathtaking vistas of the Mediterranean coastline. 

Tonya remarked that her trip coincided with Expo Rose – Grasse’s annual celebration of roses. She told us how the heady fragrance of a million delicate blooms cascaded down cobbled paths, through weathered archways, and beneath the sun blanched cafe doors of Grasse. This symphony of musk, myrrh, honey and tea mingled enticingly with the aroma of freshly ground coffee. It’s said there is no scent in the world quite so seductive as the streets of Grasse during Expo Rose.

Tonya credits her transformative trip to the south of France with the rediscovery of lost memories, the formation of new ones, and the start of her new personal story. She says, I never, ever imagined, or dreamed it was possible to find myself in one place – but I did.”

 

Whatever your next adventure, be sure to take Saltee with you.  Poolside, seaside, slopeside or city escape, Saltee is an essential for any getaway.

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