What French Women Love : Top 20 Best Selling Perfumes In France 2012

When I was growing up in Ukraine, I don’t remember hearing women discuss perfume brands. They would simply refer to high-quality perfume as “French perfume,” and these two words conveyed all of the glamour, beauty and elegance that one sought inside a crystal bottle.  Even today, after having smelled no shortage of boring and uninspired French perfume, I still feel the allure of these words. Naturally, I’m curious as to what French women themselves wear.

The ranking is based on my calculations of published marketing data so please be kind enough to site the source if you choose to republish the information.

Top Selling Perfumes USA : Popular Fragrances Spring 2012

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances 2011 USA

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances for 2010 USA

Top Selling Feminine Fragrances for 2010 France

Top Selling Masculine Fragrances 2010 USA

And they wear plenty of scent–Paris metro is filled with a melange of perfume, which on occasion can be less than pleasant. On a recent trip, I took an anthropological approach and jotted down a few notes when I recognized a particular fragrance. My notebook was filled with mentions of Coco Mademoiselle, AngelMiss Dior Chérie, and most surprisingly, Hypnotic Poison. I even smelled Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb on a girl dressed up as a fairy, complete with sparkles on her face and stars in her hair (and a classical Burberry trench).

If you’re curious about French women’s favorite fragrances and want to explore more beyond my anectodal evidence, here is a list of the current top sellers in France. I have shared my comments on these fragrances  in the previous lists I’ve published, but I will add a few observations on perfumes that are new to the best seller list.

1. Chanel No 5 (1921)

2. Christian Dior J’Adore (1999)

3. Chanel Coco Mademoiselle (2001)

4. Thierry Mugler Angel (1993)

5. Christian Dior Miss Dior Chérie (2005)

6. Guerlain Shalimar (1925)

Thank heavens Shalimar is still in the top 10!

7. Kenzo Flower (2000)

I also love seeing Kenzo Flower on the top seller list because to me it represents Kenzo at its best–whimsical, distinctive, original.

8. Paco Rabanne Lady Million (2010)

Lady Million is not a personal favorite, but I like its 1980s vibe. Miles away from the avant-garde Paco Rabanne of Calandre and Metal, but fun nevertheless.

9. Givenchy Very Irrésistible (2003)

While I can explain the success of most fragrances on this list, I honestly don’t understand why this stuff sells. Can there be a duller fragrance than Very Irrésistible?

10. Lolita Lempicka Lolita Lempicka (1997)

11. Yves Saint Laurent Parisienne (2009)

12. Cacharel Amor Amor (2003)

I have a soft spot for Amor Amor, a fizzy, bubbly fragrance that I wear when I want something uncomplicated, but still distinctive. Its orange top accord is so stellar that it’s often used as a benchmark for other citrus fragrances.

13. Nina Ricci Nina (2006)

Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue sells really well in the US and Germany, but gourmand variations like Nina are better received in France.

14. Jean Paul Gaultier Jean Paul Gaultier Classique (1993)

15. Thierry Mugler Alien (2005)

16. Yves Saint Laurent Opium (1977)

Opium has been completely reformulated and changed beyond recognition, but it’s still a recognizable brand and the new marketing campaign is a success. Cases like this makes perfume brands say, “But what does it matter if we reformulate? Look at Opium, J’Adore, etc. Consumers still continue to buy them.” Granted, the new Opium is at least a nicely crafted fragrance, not some dull fruit compote.

17. Yves Saint Laurent Paris (1983)

18. Lancôme Trésor (1990)

19. Nina Ricci Ricci Ricci (2009)

20. Christian Dior Hypnotic Poison (1998)

It gives me hope to see this brilliant flanker to Poison make the list. It’s an original composition, with plenty of character and interesting twists. I smell it a lot around Paris as well, which proves that there is some truth to this list. A little gem that’s worth sampling.



  • Anna Minis: That girl with Spicebomb has a very personal style! Here in Amsterdam, lots of people have an even more personal style, but very seldom I smell perfume in Amsterdam. I travel a lot in the tramway; no perfume there! Even in the operahouse or in the concerthall I smell not much perfume. But when I smell something, it is mostly a good one. Once in the opera Rive Gauche, Mitsouko in the Concertgebouw, Beautiful in the tram, also Michael (Kors). The young lady who takes lessons at my home has Parisienne (on her, it is perfect). I can remember what I smelled and when, it does not happen often. Yet lots of Dutch women and men buy perfume, I wonder when they wear it. And there was that Moroccan (?) men in the street with a heavenly, a little bit smokey smell of roses and woods (I guessed), I still regret that I did not dare to ask him what it was!
    Those lists are interesting, thank you for sharing! November 28, 2012 at 7:43am Reply

    • Jenna: Here in London I don’t smell much perfume I recognise, except for Angel that I detest. November 28, 2012 at 7:51am Reply

      • Victoria: It’s always the case, right? The ones we don’t like are the ones we notice the most. November 28, 2012 at 10:20am Reply

    • Dominic: Anna, i have a thought on why you don’t smell much perfume even though people buy them. Maybe many of them disappear before people manage to leave home? I witnessed it minimum 2 times, e.g. my friend put on 10-15 spritz of some CK cologne, I went shopping with her and apart from a few seconds at home, I didn’t smell it anymore that day. A lot of fragrances are so bland these days and don’t last long at all, even if they’re launched by respectable and famous fashion house. November 28, 2012 at 9:51am Reply

      • Dene: This is true! The companies are putting water in their perfume. March 18, 2014 at 3:55pm Reply

    • Victoria: That girl looked like someone who can spot in NYC, not in Paris, but yes, she definitely had a distinctive style. She was also wearing pale blue tights and matching platform boots. The classical trend and a patent leather purse were a great touch. November 28, 2012 at 10:16am Reply

  • Jenna: Well, at least there is Shalimar on that list. November 28, 2012 at 7:48am Reply

    • Victoria: True! I was so happy to see it there. November 28, 2012 at 10:19am Reply

  • bloody frida: Very nice to see Hypnotic Poison on that list! Thanks V. November 28, 2012 at 8:34am Reply

    • Victoria: That made me happy! It’s such an excellent fragrance. November 28, 2012 at 10:20am Reply

      • Ari: I would like to report that supermodel (and very funny food blogger, V) Chrissy Teigen told me on Twitter yesterday that Hypnotic Poison is her favorite perfume! November 28, 2012 at 6:00pm Reply

        • Victoria: She has a great taste! 🙂 I’m really happy that Hypnotic Poison has so many fans, because it’s one of the best in Dior’s line right now. November 29, 2012 at 11:08am Reply

  • Carla: I wonder why you were surprised by Hypnotic Poison. My French SIL wears Lolita Lempicka and Hypnotic Poison, and was interested to know they are both by the same perfumer, and, I think, from the same year. The mainstream perfumes the French wear are headier – more gourmand – than what sells in the US. When my SIL visited recently, I enjoyed getting wafts of her Hypnotic Poison throughout the day, because I went through a couple of bottles almost 15 years ago. In fact, I recall, it was when I was a student in Lyon in 1998, the year it launched, and I asked a classmate what she was wearing, and it was Hypnotic Poison. I went out and bought it. My SIL would put on two sprays in the morning, and I enjoyed smelling it well into the evening. If I had put the two sprays on myself, I think it would have faded from my senses by the end of the day. So I spent a week enjoying Hypnotic Poison in a new way. November 28, 2012 at 8:44am Reply

    • Heather: This post has me craving HP now! November 28, 2012 at 9:34am Reply

    • Victoria: Because it’s a flanker and doesn’t get much promotion compared to other Dior’s fragrances. I’m not surprised that it’s popular though, and I agree, French tastes in perfume are definitely gourmand and oriental. The white floral blends that are popular in the US don’t do nearly as well there. I smell plenty of Lolita Lempicka in Paris as well. November 28, 2012 at 10:25am Reply

  • Heather: I love these sorts of lists. Thank you for publishing this with your comments too. We have a house in France, far from Paris, and I can report that the YSL Paris tester is the most-used in the largest dept store in our nearest city. Over the summer I often smelled Hermes Un Jardin sur Le Nil and sur Le Toit, and on my most recent visit La Petite Robe Noire seemed to be flying off the shelves in Sephora. November 28, 2012 at 9:32am Reply

    • Victoria: La Petite Robe Noire is everywhere, both here in Belgium and in France. I was glancing at some photos I took recently in Paris, and you could play a game of spotting LPRN ad–a glimpse of it on a bus, at a taxi stop, in the shop window…. November 28, 2012 at 10:26am Reply

  • Dominic: Victoria, i wonder whether you put some attention on what men wear there. Did you notice anything particular?
    Btw, I live in UK, though not London, and rarely I smell reeeaaaaly great fragrance, however people wear stuff, but 99,9% is pop, mainstream, and like i said earlier, most of the time fragrance disappear way too quick. November 28, 2012 at 9:55am Reply

    • Victoria: Somehow there are no masculine scents in my notes this time, but maybe because I was paying more attention to women. But in general, I notice Bleu de Chanel, Eau Sauvage, Kouros, Bulgari The Vert, JPG Le Male. Oh, and Paco Rabanne One Million. In Brussels, it’s more Hugo Boss type scents and classics like Eau Sauvage. November 28, 2012 at 10:29am Reply

      • Daisy: I smell Paco Rabanne 1 Million and Lady Million everywhere.

        This is a silly question, but wouldn’t it be funny if all future flankers were 1 Million but adjusted for inflation?

        Like Paco Rabanne $107,437,889.86?

        🙂 November 28, 2012 at 1:44pm Reply

        • Victoria: Hysterical! You need to propose it to Puig asap. 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 2:13pm Reply

          • Daisy: Si! En espagnol 😉 November 28, 2012 at 2:43pm Reply

  • Roberta: What a nice list. It is very interesting to see the differences in the lists of every country. In Brazil for instance women tend to choose the “clean smell” perfumes, as well as the sweet, gourmand ones. I can pick up whifs of Angel, Critique Happy, L’Eau D’Issey, Dolce and Gabbanna Light Blue, and Chloe (not the vintage one). Chloe seems to be the latest “trend” among women my age (late 20s, early 30s). I can’t stand it, but I can see why people would choose it in a tropical weather with temperatures that can reach up to 45 Celsius (there is no need for strong musks or civet in this temperature, as you can imagine). November 28, 2012 at 10:11am Reply

    • Victoria: It’s so interesting to read all of the comments here. They seem to be more revealing than this list. 🙂

      I know what you mean about Chloe. It actually wears nicely in hot weather, but it’s so unexciting. One might as well spray oneself with Febreeze. November 28, 2012 at 10:32am Reply

      • Roberta: Hahaha! I agree. 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 8:24pm Reply

  • Rachel: Fun! I love reading these lists. I noticed that there are no non-French perfumes among the best sellers. Or am I missing something? November 28, 2012 at 10:43am Reply

    • Victoria: They are all French brands, except for Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci, which are owned by Puig, a Spanish brand. November 28, 2012 at 1:49pm Reply

      • mc: What other brands
        PUIG have? March 27, 2014 at 2:10pm Reply

        • Victoria: I don’t remember off the top of my head the whole list, but you can check at puig.com, the company’s website. March 27, 2014 at 4:27pm Reply

  • Elizabeth: I recall what Luca Turin wrote about Very Irresitbile: a perfume to be worn to commute to work on a rainy Tuesday morning while dreaming of early retirement. That is it. It is exactly that.

    On a lighter note, I am happy to see two of my favorites, Chanel No. 5 ande Shalimar, up there! I asked for Chanel No. 5 for a birthday present when I was 17 and I have worn it ever since. I don’t think it’s overrated! November 28, 2012 at 10:50am Reply

    • Daisy: Ouch, Luca Turin! SNAP!

      I do have to say that the very name Very Irrésistible irks me. I would like it more without the accent mark, but with it, I feel kind of like I’m imitating Pepe Le Pew. November 28, 2012 at 1:47pm Reply

    • Victoria: You had such sophisticated tastes at 17! It’s fantastic that you’ve been wearing No 5 since then. It took me much longer to warm up to it, but today I won’t be without it. I’m wearing No 5 EDT right now. November 28, 2012 at 1:51pm Reply

  • Noele Neidig: Aside from Chanel No. 5 and Shalimar, I don’t find that list very impressive. I guess I was expecting more originality from the Parisians since they have such easy access to the most amazing scents in the world! November 28, 2012 at 11:13am Reply

    • Victoria: The advertising plays into this too, I think. Big brands are the ones that get the biggest retail space as well. November 28, 2012 at 1:54pm Reply

  • George: Sophia Grosjman, Annick Menardo, Dominique Ropion and Laurent Bruyere, and Olivier Cresp- all worth their weight in gold. It’s amazing how many of the perfumers scoring one perfume in this top twenty, also score at least one more. It would interesting to see the full breakdown of perfumers (as fact, rather than the often conflicting reports of authorship one gets on the internet), because it does underscore a point about how there are great perfumers (both artistically and commercially). In the ever increasing sphere of perfume creation and perfume commentary (and its marketing), it seems that often ALL perfumers are deified, but I think its clear here (at least in terms of commercial success) who some of the real gods are. November 28, 2012 at 12:27pm Reply

    • George: I also note how particularly French the branding is: whereas with the American top twenty you’d probably get a neat split of American and French and Italian brands, the French are clearly having none of it. November 28, 2012 at 1:05pm Reply

      • Victoria: Yes, that’s true! Except for Paco Rabanne and Nina Ricci (Puig, a Spanish brand), all of these are French owned houses. November 28, 2012 at 2:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s tricky, because some of the big launches often list only the senior perfumers. Sometimes for political reasons the names of certain perfumers are used, but not others. Some brands don’t even mention perfumers at all (P&G). Also, if you are a senior perfumer, sometimes you are included into the major projects by default, even if you did very little work. All of these reasons make ascribing precise authorship very difficult. November 28, 2012 at 2:02pm Reply

  • Ann-Sofie: Lists are fun and often interesting, not the least to compare. Angel at the top list for example – as much as I hate it, I would love to smell it sometimes here in Sweden, as it actually has depth and character. Swedes tend to prefer aquatic fragrances, or the utterly faceless clean ones – wholesome soap would be the magic formula. Tuesday perfumes is the perfect definition: Tuesday – the most anonymous day of the week…..

    PS Not all Swedes of course, we are a large bunch that adore the strange outlandish seductive, sumptious fumes of continental extravaganza. November 28, 2012 at 12:54pm Reply

    • Victoria: That fits my view of the Swedish market–clean, aquatic, crisp blends. I guess, if I’m forced to choose between a cloying gourmand or a clean and soapy scent, I will go for the latter. November 28, 2012 at 2:07pm Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: Cloying gourmands are tough to endure, I agree. But it would be nice with some warmer, perhaps spicier fragrances – especially during our cold months (many!) they would be so flattering for the wearer and be joyful to sniff in the air. Many of the rich perfumes are a perfect match for the Nordic climate, actually. And can’t help to think what a mismatch aquatics are for five months of winter. November 28, 2012 at 3:11pm Reply

        • Victoria: You know, in Russia it’s very similar–overly spicy fragrances that you would imagine doing well in the cold weather don’t do particularly well in the market tests. November 28, 2012 at 3:31pm Reply

      • Ann-Sofie: PS The snow came today – tomorrow I will celebrate with Shalimar. Or Coromandel. November 28, 2012 at 3:14pm Reply

        • Victoria: It’s still too warm here. I would also wear Coromandel, which seems like a perfect choice on a cold, snowy day. November 28, 2012 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Anne Sheffield: Hello Victoria!
    Here in the south of France, I mostly sniff Shalimar, Mitsouko and a lot of Ambre by Reminiscence. Unfortunately I also smell a lot of coco mademoiselle ( I can’t stand it anymore).
    I must admit, since following I recognised a lot of perfume. I am loving that “power” over something so intimate. It s like seeing a person naked. I often find myself thinking: ohhhh I know what you are wearing! What a great/ strange choice. Even the amount of spray can reflect a lot. A tend to think a woman who has over- sprayed, either has a bad cold, or is a loud exhuberent and strong person. November 28, 2012 at 12:58pm Reply

    • Victoria: I know what you mean, Anne! I find that fascinating too. It always makes me realize that we reveal so much with our perfume choices. November 28, 2012 at 2:08pm Reply

  • Jillie: Really interesting reading. It made me realise that, until the other day, I haven’t run after anyone in years to ask them what they are wearing because mostly I don’t really like what I can smell! What surprised me about the perfume I had to investigate the other day was that it was Prada’s Amber – I didn’t think I would care for it, but on the lady in question it was really rich and warm smelling, and such a pleasant change from all the fruity-florals/fruitchoolis that I can usually detect.

    I suppose it’s silly to ask you, V, what is your favourite at the moment? Like most of us, I imagine, your taste is different every day! It’s so lovely to have a selection to choose from and to match/cheer your mood in the morning! November 28, 2012 at 1:38pm Reply

    • Victoria: It happened to me with Cartier’s Baiser Vole. A friend wore it, and I had to ask her about her perfume. Prior to that I didn’t even consider it.

      Let’s see… The fragrances I’ve worn the most over the past month or two were Serge Lutens Iris Silver Mist, Hermes Hiris, Olfactive Studio Lumiere Blanche, Hermes L’Ambre des Merveilles, and also Serge Lutens Une Voix Noire. I’m craving these kind of comforting fragrances. Not that Iris Silver Mist is anyone’s idea of a comfort scent, but it’s such an old favorite that it has many nice associations attached to it. November 28, 2012 at 2:12pm Reply

  • Terry Maloney: Interesting that there are no new (2011-2012) fragrances? And I expected a more diverse selection of Guerlains……why? Not sure! Hmmmm. November 28, 2012 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s because the data don’t include the last quarter yet. I bet that the calculations taken at the end of the year will show the success of La Petite Robe Noire. November 28, 2012 at 1:58pm Reply

  • Mihaela: Last year (2011), J’Adore topped for the first time Chanel No5. Personally I don’t like or wear any of of the two, but I can understand their general appeal. What I find hard to get, though, is the amazing popularity of Coco Mademoiselle. It really beats me to see & undersatnd the huge crowd of CM fans. I’ve yet have to see another perfume that smells so similar to men aftershave… and I’m a patchouli lover, so it’s not about the patch, but about the accord and the way the notes blend together. Communists barbershops used to have no-name lotions that smelled just like CM way back then. I’m afraid I just can’t get past that and I’ll have to stick to my gourmands and orientals! 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 2:56pm Reply

    • Victoria: Your comment about Coco Mlle and communist barbershops made me laugh out loud. No wonder, my grandmother think that this fragrance smells cheap. 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 3:29pm Reply

    • maja: I find it hard to believe all the fuss about Coco Mademoiselle, too. Unbelievably sour and sharp. November 28, 2012 at 5:51pm Reply

  • Rose D: Seeing N°5 ay t the top of the list has made my day!!! I own and wear the top three… it was quite a surprise 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 3:16pm Reply

    • Victoria: I always check these lists anxiously to make sure that No 5 is still there. 🙂 November 28, 2012 at 3:32pm Reply

  • Andrea: Here’s a question: Is it true that a French perfume of the same brand will smell different in Europe than in the USA? I read somewhere that French perfume has a different chemical make up because it is made with potato alcohol. November 28, 2012 at 5:06pm Reply

    • Victoria: I always thought that it was an urban legend, but when I asked around, most perfumers agreed that there is a difference. And that it has not so much to do with alcohol, but with water. But whatever difference exists, it’s not dramatic. November 29, 2012 at 10:37am Reply

  • Cyndi: I am so happy to see that a lot of my favorites – Chanel No.5, Shalimar, Hypnotic Poison, Angel, and Lolita Lempicka – were on the list! What a nice surprise! November 28, 2012 at 6:03pm Reply

    • Victoria: I agree, not bad, considering how boring most of these best seller lists tend to be. November 29, 2012 at 10:38am Reply

  • annemariec: Do you ever smell Chanel No 19 where you are Victoria? I am wearing it today, and as I was driving to work was wondering to myself how popular it is these days. By today’s standards it reads pretty much as a masculine rather than feminine fragrance – cool iris, labdanum, a touch of leather in the parfum version – how many bottles of this actually walk out the door?

    I have plenty, and yet sometimes I feel like buying a new bottle, just as a sort of political statement, one little extra sales as an assertion of feminine strength and confidence. Bah … November 28, 2012 at 6:14pm Reply

    • Astrid: No 19 is my all time favorite as well. And I do the same thing with the purchase of an extra bottle from our local DS just to keep it in stock!! How funny! I didn’t think anyone else did that… 🙂 November 29, 2012 at 6:22am Reply

      • annemariec: I have not so far actually bought an extra, but I am often tempted, especially as the EDT I bought in the 80s is not in good shape now. I do also have about half a 50 ml bottle of the EDP, so I actually well-supplied. Still, a lot of people do buy back-up bottles of things they really love. You just never know … November 29, 2012 at 5:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: I only smell No 19 on myself! I wish I smelled it more often. It’s such a beautiful fragrance, and yes, it’s true, it can work perfect on a man. For instance, perfumer Ralf Schwieger mentioned in several interviews that it’s his favorite fragrance. November 29, 2012 at 10:44am Reply

      • annemariec: Good in HIM. November 29, 2012 at 5:12pm Reply

  • Raluca: Here in Boston I smell a lot of Coco Mademoiselle and Chance and I completely dislike both. I think it’s the patchouli I dislike. Whenever I smell them I feel like my nostrils are under attack. I’m sure there are other perfumes around but I probably don’t recognize them. With the start of chilly weather, I now find comfort in biehl Parfumkunstwerke eg 01 which is a replacement for Organza Indecence. However, I find that it lacks the sillage and tenacity of OI. November 28, 2012 at 10:12pm Reply

    • Victoria: Organza and all of its variations had a tremendous sillage! No wonder, it’s hard to match. November 29, 2012 at 10:45am Reply

  • Austenfan: I have never even smelled a number of these. I have yet to try Dior J’Adore but wonder if it is still worth it, as apparently it isn’t as good as it used to be. Never tried Miss Dior Chérie as even the name gives me a tooth ache. Ditto ( not the tooth ache) on the Paco Rabanne, the Cacharel and the Givenchy. I do remember trying Parisienne but for the life of me cannot remember what it smelled like. But it is interesting to see what sells, especially to notice differences between different countries. I wonder what sells in the Netherlands, I have no idea. November 29, 2012 at 6:47am Reply

    • Victoria: I believe that the Dutch market was similar to the German one, but with a bigger taste for floral orientals and fruity gourmands. Chance was in the top 5 last year. November 29, 2012 at 10:51am Reply

  • Julie: I love these lists! I am very pleased that most of my personal favorites are on here too!

    I love Chanel No5, Coco mademoiselle, J”adore, and Hypnotic poison. I also fancy Alien, miss Dior cherie and paris.

    I also am surprised at the Very irresistable scent making the list…i can resist it! December 3, 2012 at 9:24am Reply

  • Julie: Oh, I also LOVE Chanel No19…and here in canada it is hard to find….but it is a true fragrant gem. December 3, 2012 at 9:25am Reply

  • Anita T. Monroe: The list does not surprise me. The French women that I know are quite conservative in their tastes in fragrance and beauty products. They love Nivea products, usually choose a fragrance at a fairly early age, and stick with it. One friend has worn Chamade all her life. Another L’Heure Bleue”. I know none who like “Angel” or even “Hypnotic Poison”. My personal favorites are from Mona Di Orio since my tastes are developing. January 23, 2013 at 11:55am Reply

  • claire: how did you get this top 20 list.
    i am very interested in it but i would very much like to know your source. thx! February 8, 2013 at 5:59am Reply

  • Nanette: I’m surprised I haven’t seen Quelque Fleurs on this list. I wear the original scent and get so many compliments. But even though it’s my basic back to scent I’m always looking for new ones. I’m familiar with most of the scents on the list except for Chanel 19. I will definitely try it. Just bought Cartiers new La Panthere. Any feedback? March 2, 2014 at 6:22pm Reply

    • Victoria: On my list to try, Nanette!
      I’m not sure what status Quelque Fleurs has on the best-seller list. After all, while it may have a strong cult following, it might still be smaller than some of the huge launches that bring in big sales. But it’s definitely on the counters and seems to have a sizable fan base. March 3, 2014 at 6:44am Reply

  • Kaitlin Sine: Why do you say it was surprising to smell Hypnotic Poison on the Paris metro? I haven’t smelled Hypnotic Poison- it looks telling. I am curious because I really want to buy a perfume that reminds me of France, one that the women there wear and I remember smelling. April 2, 2014 at 2:40am Reply

    • Victoria: Because I didn’t realize that it was such a major success. It started out as a sequel to Poison, and it wasn’t promoted as heavily as some other perfumes on the best seller list. As for the perfume itself, it’s really distinctive and beautiful. April 2, 2014 at 7:57am Reply

  • Bibi Small: Very interesting and I wish there were more similar discussions pertaining to the most popular (and not necessarily the most beautiful) fragrances of today worn by women around the world. I always look to the French women, curious about what they buy. Have always admired their elegance and individuality but I am told they often prefer the classics. I have heard so much recently about L’Eau Chloe de Chloe and L’eau de Perfume something by Italian Bvlgari (Omni Crystalline –just looked it up and then forgot), also Body by Burberry which I tested and didn’t exactly like. None of these are listed as being on the top in Europe, so probably just an American thing! Suddenly, after reading the old commentaries above, I think I will buy the Dior Hypnotic Poison after all. Seems like that would be safer. People also write about L’Eau de Kenzo Amour but I am suspicious. Feel like a snob always buying Made in France scents but I can’think of one American scent I would buy – possibly the one I like from CK Lived in Mexico for twelve years and just returned home. In Mex. only Los Ricos can afford luxuries and when I wore Angel body cream, everybody noticed. Loved it but men think a tiny bit is too much so I am learning. Also now here scents are not permitted and young athletic people do not like to wear any, adult children hate Mom to come visit smelling “something” always too strong. So why bother, really, but I have always felt it’s part of dressing up. Have so enjoyed your chat – read it over a year ago and then again this evening. Thanks – I was born in Europe, actually!! So close to Continental Europe, yet so far away. Things have changed, however, but France is France and I do so love Southern Europe. That’s why I felt I belonged in Mexico – less demanding and very generous. May 9, 2015 at 1:01am Reply

    • Hannah: Donna Karan Chaos, Black Cashmere, and Signature are all very nice and they’re made in the US. Not sure if you’d want to buy any of those, but being American or not being on a European best seller list doesn’t mean a fragrance isn’t good. May 9, 2015 at 3:50am Reply

      • bibi small: You are absolutely right, Hannah, and I probably misspoke. I would definitely give an American scent a chance but have not found any to my liking other than a CK long ago. Presently wearing YSL Mon Paris and love it. Probably very unsophisticated in Europe but so be it. I am older and retired – still an actor – but really cannot afford expensive scents. Trouble is that I feel undressed leaving the house without. I also bought Chanel’s Mademoiselle Coco that doesn’t stay well on me and so faint my grown children won’t complain much. I am looking into Hermes next. Have tried all the Dior scents and for years in Mexico used J’Adore but too much for family visits. Also used Angel there but does not work in the US wine country. Do not understand Lolita L. and Robe Noir. What am I missing? Also Shalimar never ever was to my liking while so delightful to many. Probably don’t get it. March 24, 2018 at 9:06pm Reply

  • Shell: Love this blog! Just returned from 3 weeks in Paris and LOVED a certain scent I smelled often on young women (25-35?) It must be very popular as I also smelled it a few times in London- nothing I recognize from the US. Does anyone have any ideas? It’s pretty & fresh with perhaps jasmine notes- not powdery at all. I should have asked someone but it would register just after they walked by- and the streets were crowded! I expected to find it at Body Shop or something but my olfactory system was too quickly overloaded to figure it out! I live at the beach in SoCal so it’s the perfect scent! Thanks! May 22, 2015 at 1:23pm Reply

    • Victoria: I would imagine it must be something from Lancôme or big department store brands. Lancôme La Vie est Belle is a huge top seller these days. Or maybe, it’s Chloe? May 23, 2015 at 2:48pm Reply

  • Phoenix: On women, I enjoy Diors “DUNE”. On men, Gaultier’s sailor man and Armani.. June 4, 2015 at 5:09pm Reply

  • Vika: Hey, I love Givenchy Very Irrésistible. Smells so good. Love all the notes, goes perfect with my skin chemistry. October 31, 2015 at 3:14pm Reply

  • Mary: Very interesting discussion! I love some of the scents on this list but it holds none of my favorites, possibly because they are mere ghosts of their former selves – Beautiful and Knowing by Estée Lauder principally. What would you say makes a good alternative to bring back the wonderful scent of Beautiful in the late 1980s? November 15, 2015 at 7:54am Reply

    • Victoria: I honestly can’t think of anything else like it! November 19, 2015 at 2:14pm Reply

  • Elena: Hi ladies and gents! I am looking for a particular perfume that was my first ever perfume (well 40 years I say, a bit less…) Made in France and as far as I remember called Clemar… I have been looking for it for years and could not find it. If you ever came across, please let me know!
    Many thanks and Merry Christmas!!! December 9, 2015 at 12:59pm Reply

    • Victoria: Climat by Lancome, maybe? December 9, 2015 at 1:14pm Reply

      • Elena: Yes, I think so, do you know where I can buy it? December 9, 2015 at 1:27pm Reply

        • Victoria: Any big department store should carry it. December 9, 2015 at 1:29pm Reply

    • Bibi Small: Try Strawberry online or FragranceNet. And if you are looking for something light and yet soft, La Petit Robe by Guerlaine is one, and also one by Nina Ricci: in L’eau. Inexpensive but pretty and inexpensive to try out. I hope I am giving you the correct name of the latter but with research. I don’t understand Lolita Lompecka and Parisians love for it. I bought an LL – not the original – and it was so bad I gave it away just for the bottle. Even in Mexico I was told it sold because it sells in Paris. I am hooked on what sells in Paris also. Curious as to whether Parisians buy L’eu in Chanel 5 now that it’s on the market. I was not impressed but maybe I just like more floral. I actually like La vie est belle by Lancome and Floral Drops by DG. Not proudo of it – I am obviously not sophisticated like a Parisienne thought I would die to have the aura of one. I also stage act at 83 plus and just did two professional shows as Madams, and one Cubana speaking Spanish with a Cuban slang. Still at my age searching for the right scent. Maybe a chic lady from Paris can suggest something for me that my chidren will tolerate on my visits. Everytime I came off the plane from Cancun, Mexico, they died. Favor de ayudarme – I dress still in Free People (hippie like and good around the stage) but fagrances have to be subtle and not overwhelming but I LOVE it so end to wear too much so I MYSELF can enjoy a fragrance I love. Quelque Fleur was an oldtimer I used while working in San Francisco and people moved back in the bus over the Golden Gate to breath some fresh air… January 22, 2017 at 1:50am Reply

      • spe: Hi Bibi,

        Our olfactory sense can diminish over time and it can be difficult to appreciate what is “subtle.” You wear scent for yourself, but you may end up applying more and more because you are desensitized.

        The experiences and comments you reference make me think that you are not choosing a delicate enough scent for your chemistry. Our chemistry also changes over time.

        The French company Hermes makes modern scents as well as classics, some quite delicate. I am guiding you to Hermes because you want something French.
        I fear Guerlain may be too sweet and / or over-powering for your chemistry. I am going to ignore Chanel for now – the Exclusifs are a little tricky as they have been reformulated into edp. The rest of the line varies a lot in terms of delicacy. Although I would suggest trying just two dabs of No. 22, if you are not familiar with it. Just one spray.

        At Hermes, ask the sales person to help you choose two or three, based on your own preferences as well. Alternating a couple of scents helps prevent desensitization. Ask the sales person how to apply the scent – how much and where.

        Take those samples with you when you visit your family and see what their reaction is.

        For sure, you can find a delicate, beautiful scent that others enjoy on you as well. March 24, 2018 at 9:57am Reply

        • bibi small: Thank you so much for your advice! Anything to prevent desensitization is valuable. I simply cannot live without a favorite scent and feel lost without. And after a long life and many trial and erros, I still no very little about what is right for me! Thanks for the Hermes suggestion – I am excited about the prospect of looking into various scents. And I will revisit Chanel No. 22 after many years. Why do I like YSL Mon Paris – does anyone have an idea? It actually suits me somehow and I receive many compliments, though it quickly vanishes. At least I myself cannot enjoy it for long and I try to layer… And – thanks so much for sending your helpful reply directly to my inbox. Such a pleasant surprise. March 24, 2018 at 9:19pm Reply

  • Donna: These are the best summer perfumes (y) Also, check these floral perfumes for ladies http://urbanhighfashion.com/floral-perfumes-for-her/ June 18, 2017 at 5:28pm Reply

  • natali: hello,

    what is the most popular parfume today on the market in France? November 14, 2017 at 2:47pm Reply

  • Eleni: I am so disappointed with an ol time favourite i bought the other day – sold as the ‘original’ opium but a mere ghost of it. The original used to sit on my skin all day and became more beautiful deep and spicy the longer it was worn. Now well like i said – a ghost and the fragrance seems so diluted as to be almost unrecognizable. I also find that the perfumes from chanel (like allure, c19 abd c5) whilst the testers stay on my skin all day, the ones of the same name i purchase hardly last past 3 hrs…it seems the quality of French classics has deteriorated. Victoria do you know of a womans perfume by Pierre Cardin. I had it years ago and broke the bottle. Have hankered after it ever since. In my 20s i wore Shalimar and Diorrisimo and all classics and they were wonderful on my skin but now im in my late fifties and skin has changed it seems. And cannot find anything with depth and staying power. Perhaps eau de parfum not an option and i shoukd choose parfum? Or am i right perfumes have simply been diluted. Would value your advice and thanks December 14, 2017 at 6:31pm Reply

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