Christian Dior's childhood home stands on the cliff facing the Channel Islands in Granville, Normandy, not far from Mont St Michel.
Villa Les Rhumbs was built by the shipowner Beust in the late nineteenth century and was named after the old marine term "Rhumb", designating a wind rose divided into 32 rhumbs, a symbol which appears as a mosaic floor ornament in one of the house's entrances.
Christian Dior's parents bought this grand house with its winter garden located in a park in 1905.
Christian Dior was particularly fond of this place. He wrote in his autobiography "Christian Dior et moi": "I have most tender and amazed memories... of my childhood home. I would even say that my life and my style owe almost everything to its site and architecture."
In 1925, the future fashion designer decided to replace the greenhouse near the villa by a pergola with a reflecting pool. This outdoor living space was much inspired by contemporary creations of the era.
In 1932, shortly after Christian Dior's mother Madeleine had died, the father, who was an industrial, got ruined by the crisis and the property had to be sold. The villa was purchased by the town of Granville and the garden was open to the public from 1938.
As an extension of the pergola, Madeleine Dior added a rose garden supported by the wall along the "sentier des douaniers" (custom officers' path), thus offering the roses shelter from the salty marine winds. Mutilated in 1991 due to the encroachment of the coastal path on the property, it was restored and enlarged in 2002.
On the occasion of Christian Dior's birth's centennial anniversary, the garden became the garden of fragrances, thus allowing visitors to discover this place of memory differently.