Au Nom de la Rose – Atelier d’art floral à Rouen.

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It was indecent, the number of bags I was carrying. People were staring – women particularly, and should I ever win a million, I should like to carry this many flowers home with me every day. But then if I was so abundantly overwhelmed with roses every day maybe it wouldn’t be so delicious, so perfumed or so heavenly. Don’t let my husband read this lest he get the wrong idea – an abundance of roses everyday is the direct route to my heart – but this isn’t carte blanche for investing in a rose farm in equatorial Africa – at least not yet!

We spotted the notice tucked between the glorious display of roses.

…cours d’art floral!

This is absolutely my favorite flower shop and usually as I pass I take a peek at this little round table. If I am lucky, they have bouquets of  ‘Roses du Jardin’,usually about five blooms that they consider past their prime, charmingly arranged, but which often last longer than a week.

But today there was no skulking about the edges, wishing and hoping; I entered ‘Au nom de la Rose’ with the assurance of a habitual customer. I was going to participate in the Atelier d’Art Floral…absolument gratuit!

The first shop ‘Au Nom de la Rose’ was opened in Paris in the 6ième arrondissement in 1991, the store being supplied by its own rose bushes in Provence. Now there are are about 80 boutiques worldwide and their roses are grown in Provence and Brittany, and on the equator. The roses from France are notable for their smaller blooms, whilst those from the equatorial regions, profiting from increased sunshine and humidity are substantially larger. The amazing scent of the blousy tea-roses assailed us the minute we stepped across the threshold; and the quantity and variety of blooms were stunning.

The equatorial blooms are now sourced from African run rose farms.

First we select our choice of blooms from large buckets. We then watch as the stems are cleaned and de-thorned.

Once done we are shown how to start laying the roses and feuillage (greenery) stem by stem in a rotating spiral.

The boys have finished before the girls!

The youngest seems to have found a natural talent..

“‘Ee’ is better” says the proprieteur proprietorially, reverting to a foreign language to disguise his comment. Unfortunately he chooses English.

“I heard that” squeaks the older one indignantly.

After a bit of raffia know-how for the boys,

We are shown our next arrangement.

We are instructed not to force submerge the ‘mousse’, shown how to cut and place the stems and head off to select a pot.

It’s time for the girls raffia training!

But the afternoon doesn’t end until we try some other rose products, Rose perfumed tea, Syrop de Rose, and Gelée de Rose. The Rose Tea is subtly fragrant, whilst the Rose Syrop (cordial) which is recommended diluted with water or added to Kir(now there’s a thought) and the Rose Gelée on brioche remind one of Arabian Nights and Turkish Delight.

It’s time to pack up, and we discover what happens to all those petals we discarded earlier..

as we liberally sprinkle them over our bags..

These aren’t any old shopping bags, they’re rose filled, rose scented, rose adorned shopping bags!

We splashed out a little so that we could have a rose perfumed apartment every day of the year…

even on our impecunious days!

I wonder if one could have too many bags of flowers?

My mantle-piece doesn’t seem to think so…

and nor do I!