Top Selling Feminine Fragrances France : Popular Perfumes

No 5

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances 2o12 France

Top Selling Perfumes USA : Popular Fragrances Spring 2012

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances 2011 USA

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances for 2010 USA

Top Selling Masculine Fragrances 2010 USA

Since many of you were interested to learn the European list of top sellers, here are the top 20 feminine fragrances for France. A quick glance at the list reveals that it shares only a few similarities with the US list of top sellers—there are many classics on the list, including the American gem Clinique Aromatics Elixir; the tendency overall is towards the oriental and floral oriental blends (in contrast to the fruity-floral perfumes that still drive sales in the US). Also, the brand name is one of the most important factors in determining what might end up on the top seller list.

20. Lancôme Ô de Lancôme (1969)
A classical cologne that still retains its vibrancy and freshness—an elegant citrus-orange blossom accord suspended over a mossy, ambery base.

19. Clinique Aromatics Elixir (1971)
A bold, dramatic chypre that has a beautiful dry quality, reminiscent of an aged whisky.

18. Nina Ricci L’Air du Temps (1948)
L’Air du Temps has had a strong following in France for decades. While this elegant spicy floral has been reformulated on several occasions, it still has an iconic status.

17. Paco Rabanne Black XS for Her (2007)
A rich woody composition with a bright fruity top and a violet and rose heart.

16. Thierry Mugler Alien (2005)
Alien failed in the US, but in France, this original (yet challenging) composition of musky woods and jasmine sambac has really taken off. I recommend wearing it in tiny quantities at first because it is an extremely rich and potent blend.

15. Lancôme Trésor (1993)
(US 2010 # 12)

14. Jean Paul Gaultier Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (1993)
The original “face powder and lipstick” accord gives Jean Paul Gaultier an interesting retro quality, while the floral oriental composition on the whole is all about 1980s high maintenance glamor. A memorable composition.

13. Cacharel Amor Amor (2003)
The juicy orange accord of Amor Amor is contrasted with the warm, sweet base of amber and sandalwood. The initial effervescent, bubbly opening is very appealing, while the powdery backdrop makes it seem even more exhilarating. I have never really appreciated the radiant and joyful aura of Amor Amor until I smelled it on a friend and was completely enchanted by her beautiful sillage.

12. Givenchy Very Irrésistible (2003)
I will not mince words on Very Irrésistible. It is a fragrance I detest, and I cannot comprehend its popularity. A thin floral passing for a rose that brings to mind the sharpness of furniture polish.

11. Yves Saint Laurent Opium (1977)
Once upon the time, a great spicy oriental. The version currently sold in stores (2009 reorchestration) bears less relationship to the original than the derivative flanker Belle d’Opium.

10. Yves Saint Laurent Paris (1983)
A violet bouquet that gives the illusion of a rose, Paris is a legendary fragrance with a large family of offspring. A voluptuous, deep cleavage perfume!

9. Nina Ricci Nina (2006)
Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue + cotton candy = commercial success

8. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie (2005)
Miss Dior Chérie is essentially Chanel Coco Mademoiselle with a strawberry and popcorn accord, yet the idea is marvelous—a charming, coquettish fragrance that despite its rich gourmand notes manages to retain a degree of sophistication. Unfortunately, this year Miss Dior Chérie was relaunched and reochestrated, and it is now missing the very accord that made it interesting. The 2011 version of Eau de Parfum and 2010 version of Eau de Toilette smell not unlike Chanel Chance—fruity patchouli + cotton candy. The packaging, on the other hand, is gorgeous.

7. Lolita Lempicka Lolita Lempicka (1997)
Although Lolita Lempicka followed Thierry Mugler Angel in its gourmand scented footsteps, it is still one of its most original and interesting children. The woody gourmand core of the fragrance is embellished with green ivy leaf and anise notes, which give a pleasantly crisp touch. Quite elegant.

6. Guerlain Shalimar (1925)
A gold standard oriental, Shalimar is built on the contrast between cool bergamot and warm vanilla. Rich rose, jasmine and leather notes add interesting embellishments to this simple, yet remarkable composition.

5. Kenzo Flower (2000)
Flower by Kenzo is heir to the grand parfum tradition of Guerlain L’Heure Bleue—a soft floral oriental composition where the tender and sweet musk notes replace the classical languorous animalic notes. Radiant and vivid, it is a memorable modern take on a classical theme.

4. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2001)
(US 2010 # 1 )

3. Thierry Mugler Angel (1993)
(US 2010 # 7 )

2. Christian Dior J’Adore (1999)
(US 2010 # 13)

1.Chanel No 5 (1921)
(US 2010 # 4)

Source: France department stores sales records



  • Isa: Thank you! I love rankings! LOL
    I have not seen a ranking for Spain, but Sephora usually lists Light Blue as the best seller fragrance, followed by Angel, Amor Amor, Nina, Coco Mademoiselle…
    However, sometimes I have read that the numer one in Spain is Eau de Rochas, and that wouldn’t surprise me at all. Here we tend to love fresh colognes. April 20, 2011 at 6:24am Reply

  • Olfactoria: Interesting, thank you!
    I would not have thought that Lolita Lempicka did so well in France. It is a great fragrance, I like this one a lot. April 20, 2011 at 3:50am Reply

  • key change: I’m surprised that Lolita (or any extremely sweet fragrances) do really well anywhere, actually. They just seem so polarizing. April 20, 2011 at 9:11am Reply

  • RMF325: Thank you; that is quite interesting. Not surprising that Shalimar is still selling so well, but I was very surprised to see L’Air du Temps on the list. I haven’t seen or heard about that in the US in many years. Naturally No. 5 is the best seller in France; what could ever take its place?! April 20, 2011 at 11:13am Reply

  • gautami: I did smell Coco Mademoiselle and J’adore on a lot of women in Paris in 2009. It seemed to me like almost everyother woman was wearing either of those two. April 20, 2011 at 11:31am Reply

  • Thierry: N°5 is a very special case, here, in France. I live in Paris but I don’t smell it often in the street, at office…
    Some sale assistants gave me the explanation : men buy it as a gift when they don’t know what to offer to their wife, lover, mum… April 20, 2011 at 11:50am Reply

  • dleep: Very interesting. I was surprised to see Lolita Lempicka and Aromatics Elixer (which I love). Love that post. Thanks. April 20, 2011 at 12:23pm Reply

  • Carla: My wonderful French host mother from junior year of college always wore Tresor, and my French sister-in-law wears Lolita Lempicka. I’m surprised that Amor Amor is the Cacharel top seller. I might have guessed another, like Noa. April 20, 2011 at 2:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that it has been a best seller for a number of years. French consumers tend to be much more open to the oriental notes in fragrances than is the case for the US consumers. April 20, 2011 at 11:26am Reply

  • Victoria: I do not remember Spanish rankings off the top of my head, but colognes, Light Blue, Amor Amor are definitely up there. It is a very interesting and distinctive market actually, and is very different from that of other European countries. April 20, 2011 at 11:28am Reply

  • Victoria: I think that the rich oriental-woody facet helps. Orientals usually do much better in France than here. April 20, 2011 at 11:29am Reply

  • Victoria: I was also surprised to see L’Air du Temps so high up on the list. On the other hand, it really has such an iconic status in France. April 20, 2011 at 11:31am Reply

  • Austenfan: Thank you for this list. It has two of my personal favourites ( Paris and Aromatics Elixir) which is nice. Out of curiosity I googled the bestselling perfumes in Holland. Coco Mademoiselle is the winner in most lists featured on the web. L’Eau d’Issey, JPGautier le Classique, DKNY Be Delicious,The One and Light Blue by Dolce & Gabbana, Noa Cacharel and a few more are on it.

    So we share some with the US and some others with France. I think we lean towards the lighter, cleaner smelling fragrances. I still smell L’Eau d’ Issey and Cool Water quite often on people around me. April 20, 2011 at 4:27pm Reply

  • Uella: At least french women still love french perfumes! I’m curious about other countries like Russia for instance, they love french culture. I don’t get the love of american women for bling-bling glitzy italian brands, in fashion and perfumery – Real “trashy” Housewives effect? (#1 cable show in the US). How many french perfumes in the american top 20, only four I believe, right? The other day I realised french designers like Agnes b and Sonia Rykiel only have two boutiques in the US (New York and Boston for Rykiel), they have 35 boutiques each in Japan and Rykiel has 7 boutiques in the city of Seoul (South Korea) alone, 5 in Russia. April 20, 2011 at 4:44pm Reply

  • Brian: I’m so surprised that Lancome O is there, and not, say, Magie Noire. April 20, 2011 at 1:26pm Reply

  • Victoria: I smell it time to time, but it does not happen that often. I think that No 5 definitely has a very special status, and I doubt that we will see another fragrance like this anytime soon. April 20, 2011 at 1:34pm Reply

  • Victoria: I admit that I was also surprised to see Aromatics Elixir, mostly because it is such a distinctively American fragrance. April 20, 2011 at 1:35pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that colognes like O de Lancome are still very popular in Europe (not the case in the US!) Magie Noire was never a huge best seller, although like you, I would not have been at all surprised to find it instead of O de Lancome. April 20, 2011 at 1:36pm Reply

  • Victoria: Yes, sounds like my own experience! And I still smell much more Angel in Paris than I do in NYC. These days I smell something fruity and cloying on everyone in Manhattan. April 20, 2011 at 1:37pm Reply

  • dee: Thank you for the follow-up post! It’s interesting to me that 20% of the best-sellers in France were best-sellers in the US; for some reason, I thought there would be less in common! I guess it really is a small world, even for our noses 😉 April 20, 2011 at 2:48pm Reply

  • dee: Geez, strike that, 25%! My math skills are at pre-coffee levels. April 20, 2011 at 2:49pm Reply

  • dee: I’m just done here. LOL! April 20, 2011 at 2:50pm Reply

  • March: I love this list! Heck, I love how iconic several of these are…. and okay, I love that Paris and J’Adore are on here. Big perfumes with lots of character. And the Clinique!

    Several of these I have to revisit, like Amor Amor (cannot even remember what it smells like.) April 20, 2011 at 3:08pm Reply

  • Hannah: That’s what I would expect from Germany.
    Anything that stands out too much would probably be too ridiculous and inauthentic somehow. April 20, 2011 at 8:43pm Reply

  • Victoria: Noa has never done as well as Amor Amor, although both are quite successful. I love the juicy orange top accord of Amor Amor, which lasts into the drydown. April 20, 2011 at 6:44pm Reply

  • Victoria: I am impressed anyway! 🙂
    You are right, it is interesting to see the overlaps. Well, after all, some of the overlaps are the iconic, very important fragrances. April 20, 2011 at 6:47pm Reply

  • Victoria: You should revisit Amor Amor, which is an excellent floral oriental fragrance.

    I also love finding fragrances with so much character on the French list. Opium, Shalimar… April 20, 2011 at 6:49pm Reply

  • Victoria: I think that the best sellers in Holland are similar to the German top 20. You are right about the preferences for fresher, lighter and crisper fragrances. Light Blue is very popular! April 20, 2011 at 6:50pm Reply

  • Victoria: Interesting about Sonia Rykiel’s boutiques! I love her fashions, and I admit that I miss finding her clothes more freely here in the US.

    In Russia, women love Italian fashions, but for perfumes, they do not deviate from French brands. You find fragrances like Dior Addict in the top seller lists, which does not appear anywhere else. I think that the brand has a lot of power, but based on the consumer research I have seen, Russian women pay more attention than most to the scent itself. I found that finding to be very interesting. April 20, 2011 at 7:28pm Reply

  • Victoria: So, I just checked and Germany’s top seller is Chanel No 5, while #2 is Jil Sander Sun. It is interesting to see other lines that one would not find elsewhere: Joop!, Lacoste, Biotherm. April 20, 2011 at 9:38pm Reply

  • axum: Interesting! Now I am curious to see and compare lists from other major perfume-buying areas, like the Gulf states, the Asian markets, etc. April 20, 2011 at 10:48pm Reply

  • Victoria: That would be a fun exercise! I will try to put something like this together. April 21, 2011 at 10:35am Reply

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