Scentimental Journey through France


Toronto fragrance expert Marian Bendeth shares her impressions of perfume tour through France commissioned by the French government. My favorite part revolved around visiting Coco Chanel’s apartments at Rue Cambon, “Sniffing the blotter, I conjure up Mlle. Coco standing before me. I envision her piercing black eyes under the brim of a straw hat. They stare right through me. One artistic hand is fingering her pearls, a long cigarette dangles between two fingers. The other bejewelled wrist sits on her jutted hip. Curls of cigarette smoke and No. 22 hang in the air. I imagine she is questioning my presence in her kingdom. I carry and sniff the scented blotter intermittently from room to room. I want to breathe her incarnation, smell out the source for her elegant tastes in furnishings and fragrances.”

Read the rest of the article on Basenotes. The photo depicts Marian at No.31 rue Cambon.


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  • cynthia: What a great article! Thank you for the heads up. I would love to go on a trip like that. August 1, 2006 at 4:14pm Reply

  • violetnoir: I’m printing the article as I type this to you.

    Thanks, V!

    Hugs! August 1, 2006 at 5:41pm Reply

  • Madelyn E: Dear Victoria,
    How are you ? I wonder How you are faring in the heat ! I have been enjoying Champaca by Ormonde Jayne . Thank you for recommending it. I love it – it surely is a sexy sultry scent.Also, I love Jardin Sur Le Nil by Hermes – it is reminiscent of a trip by the shores of the Nile. I also wanted to report that I sniffed the new Guerlain L’insolence and Lanvin’s Rumeur ! Both are winners. I would have snapped up the L’insolence – itis so delicious – almost good enough to eat ! I immediately inhaled its luscious fruity- violet top notes. Mmmmmm- fantastic. It reminded me a bit of Dior’s Dolce Vita – both had a musky , feminine sensuousness. Am I going overboard perhaps ? Well. I just adore perfume. as we all do. Finally, i want to report that I zoned in on 2 other future possibilities : Creed: Love In White . and Penhaligon’s Lavandula. Love in White – was surprisingly pleasant- very refreshing. it grew on me as I typically prefer Silver Mountain Water / Fleurissimo. Also, Lavandula is a lovely floral composition – lavender, yes but with a kick- intensely feminine , traditional. yet a modern interpretation of a lavender- Plus scent. I had a great time. Didn’t buy anything for myself except my love Hermes Eau D’orange Vert Shower Gel. Marvellous ! I also picked up a Creed Spring Flowers as a birthday gift ! I was disappointed that I had trouble finding the men’s Guerlain L’instant Pour L’ete (EDT) . Know anything about this?
    Thinking of you . What are your personal summer favorites?
    Best To you !
    Madelyn E August 1, 2006 at 10:47pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Cynthia, I enjoyed it too! Like you, I would have loved to go on this kind of journey. August 2, 2006 at 2:00am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: R, hope that you will enjoy it too! August 2, 2006 at 2:01am Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Madelyn, sounds wonderful! I cannot wait for Lanvin to appear on our shores as well. As for summer fragrances, I have a few favourites:

    Although I have to admit that when the temperature is in the 90s, nothing appeals to me besides the cool air of the A/C. August 2, 2006 at 2:04am Reply

  • Laura: This was fascinating, but I kept envisioning YOU taking such a trip and writing about it ;D. August 2, 2006 at 2:18pm Reply

  • Katie: That was such a lovely essay, thanks for drawing our attention to it 🙂 August 2, 2006 at 10:22pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Laura, ah, I can dream! August 3, 2006 at 2:30pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Katie, I agree. I was so pleased when I discovered it on Basenotes. August 3, 2006 at 2:30pm Reply

  • Marian Bendeth: Thank you for your kind comments!

    Are there any specific scents or odours that you relate to in the piece or any of your own you wish to share?

    Marian Bendeth August 3, 2006 at 4:00pm Reply

  • BoisdeJasmin: Marian, oh, there were plenty for me, from the scent of coffee and cigarettes to the wonderful aroma on the runway. It was such a lovely piece. Thank you very much for sharing your impressions. August 3, 2006 at 7:44pm Reply

  • Marian Bendeth: I would like to share…I have a peer in the industry who is French and living in the US. He told me after reading the piece, he was homesick for perfume and cigarette smoke.

    ah, Vive la France!

    Marian August 3, 2006 at 11:09pm Reply

  • Donna: Great article! I felt as if I were there myself. Frederic Malle’s comment made me laugh out loud. What a character! August 4, 2006 at 12:21pm Reply

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