There’s something undeniably French -- so chic, so sensual, so luxurious -- about perfume, and, fittingly, Paris has a superlative selection of perfumers from which to choose an original, high-quality and quintessentially Parisian scent.
One of the city’s
classic perfume houses is Annick
Goutal, where dainty glass bottles of elegant perfume are sold in boudoir-like
stores. Try Petite Cherie, a scent which Goutal created for her daughter, with
fruity notes of pear and peach mixed with cut grass and rose.
The Left Bank perfumery, Diptyque,
is famous around the world for its scented candles (fig is a bestseller), but also
sells room fragrances and perfumes --perfect for those looking for a signature
Frédéric Malle, the grandson
of Serge Heftler, founder of Christian Dior Parfums, sees himself as a “fragrance
editor”, bottling scents created by famous noses whom he views as “authors”.
For example, Jean-Claude Ellena, who previously created perfumes for Hermès,
has concocted several scents for Malle, including the fresh and woody Bigarade
Concentrée. Use one of the home fragrances to perfume a room -- try Café
Society which aims to capture the “ephemeral odour of the living room after the
end of a Parisian dinner”.
Francis Kurkdjian founded his
eponymous perfume house in 2009, having
created his first scent -- Le Mâle for Jean-Paul Gaultier -- ten years earlier
at the age of just 25. The house uses the purest ingredients packaged in chic
and simple bottles. Pour le Matin is a fresh scent perfect, as its name would
suggest, for the day, whereas Pour le Soir is an enveloping scent for the
evening. Bespoke fragrances can also be created.
At the other
end of the scale is Etat Libre
d’Orange, an independent fragrance house founded in 2006 in the Marais
district of Paris, and perhaps the most innovative and avant-garde of them
all. Using the highest quality ingredients, the award-winning
perfumer creates elegant yet subversive scents such as Jasmin et Cigarette,
a perfume which mixes floral jasmine with the cold smoky notes of tobacco, to
create the olfactive equivalent of a typically French femme fatale.
Whether you go
for elegant and classic or innovative and controversial, make sure you seek out
a rare and interesting scent as a souvenir of your trip.
Kim Laidlaw Adrey is
the Paris Localite for BBC Travel. She also writes unlockparis.blogspot.com.