So I did very little perfume shopping in Paris! What! Really?
Well yes. For starters I was with my daughter and at fifteen you tend not to care about perfume, and Guerlain, and so forth. You care about food. One aspect of French culture my daughter understood at once: eating. French bread, and gallettes, and quiches and eclairs, and butter and cheese, and chocolate croissants for breakfast and no one saying, ” Shouldn’t you really be downing a power fruit frappe with seaweed and kale?” the way they often do in the States. (There’s a term for this in France “rabat joie”) Plus the beefsteaks with Bearnaise sauce. Oh, and did I mention the frites?
We therefore spent a good deal of time eating. What can I say? French food is good. You should have some!
In Paris itself I did do some sniffing. This is typical, and sometimes I can’t escape the impression that I am rather like a dog, and seem to be primarily fixated on what to smell and eat next. Despite my reflexive sniffing, I was surprised to find that my admittedly random samples of Parisian metro air produced zero oud. Now you would think, wouldn’t you, given its popularity at perfume counters, I would smell some? But non, pas d’oud. And it wasn’t as if I didn’t whiff for it.
What I did smell was By Killian’s “Good Girl Gone Bad” at the Louvre in that long line you get into for tickets, on moreover, a well dressed Chinese tourist. Otherwise not much. One lady in Versailles was trailing a scent that recalled Montana’s “Parfum de Peau” which is something you seldom huff in the States as that is way too animalic for us cleaniacs. Her sillage was magnificent, but otherwise, the only perfume I encountered was an LE Guerlain at Versailles, Le Bouquet de la Reine. That was white flowers, principally muguet, and according to M. Guerlain is really Jasminora re-vamped. It seems to contain high quality jasmine and maybe some rose, no ylang ylang though that I could detect, and you generally get ylang when somebody is trying to sell a “high end” white floral but does not want to spring for jasmine. The perfume was two parts Guerlain Muguet to one part Chanel No 22, and I can’t recall if Jasminora struck me as being that good? Anyway death- defyingly feminine- unlike poor Marie Antoinette.
The French were their inimitable selves (this was before the latest atrocities and even Brexit) taking their dogs in to dinner at fancy restaurants ( where you could order Le Dark Vader, a dessert of chocolate mousse with a dark chocolate helmet spun over the top. Get it?) My conclusion: Parisians are addicted to corny puns. You could eat it while the Papillon stared at you from the next door table daring you to drop a bite. Isn’t chocolate death to dogs? Evidently this Parisian pup was out of the loop.
Otherwise that week Paris was full of soccer fans in ridiculous hats and their long suffering girl friends, who no doubt, just wanted to go shopping. I only did once, at the Rue Grenelle Parfums de Nicolai, and bought Musc Intense and Haute Provence and Vanille Tonka all in perfect form* Then we went and bought chocolates at Dalloyau. Oh well, it was Paris and meanwhile the bars were full of Germans and Austrians trying to drown out the Russians. Na’ Stroviye!
It was Brexit and chaos all the next week. PS. What did you smell in Paris lately?
*Nearly to lose them all at Orly. Madame is carrying liquids! Well, yes madame was but Madame’s fault, it transpired, was not in fact liquid transportation, but failing to encase the liquids in plastic bags, which the customs people obligingly did. This never happens in Boston.