Chanel Paris-Deauville : Fragrance Review

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Deauville doesn’t evoke a particular scent for me. The name of this resort town on the coast of Normandy mostly reminds me of A Man and A Woman, the 1966 French film starring the incomparable Anouk Aimée. I have visited Deauville several times but only for work, unlike most normal people who travel to Normandy on vacation. As a result, when I sprayed Chanel’s Paris-Deauville on my wrist, its fragrance made me bypass France entirely. Instead, it took me to Sicily.

I smelled the bitterness of orange peel and green leaves unfolding on my skin and I could almost feel the breeze from the Ionian sea and the bright flavor of orange granita. The hot stones and sun bleached grasses slowly enter the picture. And then before the fragrance even reveals its jasmine inflected heart, I already recall the opulence of blossoms in Aci Trezza, the rocky strip of the Riviera where Ulysses might have fought the Cyclops. My memory erases the misdeeds of the 1960s real estate developers, which make the Cyclops seem rather innocuous, and instead as I wear Paris-Deauville, I escape to visions of endless blue sea, cliffs, orange orchards and jasmine vines.

It might seem peculiar that the French town after which the fragrance is named doesn’t feature at all in my story. For Olivier Polge, however, the perfumer who created the fragrance inspired by Gabrielle Chanel’s first boutique which she opened in Deauville in 1912, it doesn’t. He didn’t mean to capture the literal scent of Deauville, but rather evoke an impression of languor and escape. He calls his fragrance “the promise of a stroll,” and for me, it was realized. Paris-Deauville is my escape from the routine. Sicily exerts a powerful draw on me with its aromas, history and cuisine, and the elegant pairing of ingredients in Polge’s fragrance bottles a perfect fantasy for me.

Wherever Paris-Deauville might land you, it’s a fresh citrus cologne based around bitter orange. It has a dazzling opening of bitter orange peel crushed with green leaves and stems. My favorite part is revealed shortly thereafter once the spicy basil marries with roses and jasmine. The floral notes are kept subtle, but they soften the sharpness of citrus and add a velvety sensation.

The perfume is a cologne, but it’s supported by a base of woods, which gives it a very different feel from the usual citrus blends. It has a warmer body and more layers. It also lasts longer, even if the initial dazzling orange note wears down to a delicate shimmer after a couple of hours. Like most colognes, however, it’s suited for both men and women, so if you’re a looking for a new summer fragrance, elegant but not overly demanding, it’s a great option. Paris-Deauville has seen me through the Ukrainian rains and Belgian heatwave so far this summer, which makes me think that it might be ideal all year round. Either way, I’m always up for a trip to Sicily.

If you’ve tried Paris-Deauville, or the other two perfumes in the new Chanel collection, Paris-Venise and Paris-Biarritz, please let me know your thoughts.

Top photograph by Bois de Jasmin, dreaming of Sicily.

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55 Comments

  • Severine: I have sniffed at three new Chanel perfumes. Deauville seems to be a popular choice, although for some reason I am currently veering towards greens and loved Biarritz. I wouldn’t really vouch on their longevity though (on my dry skin.) In summer I like scents which are like a splash of cold water, but unfortunately they don’t last. E.g. Guerlain cologne- I totally love. July 30, 2018 at 8:18am Reply

    • Victoria: It lasts well enough on me, especially for a cologne. I liked Biarritz too, but it has a sharp edge on me, which I find a bit too much in the heat. Paris-Deauville is softer. July 30, 2018 at 9:09am Reply

  • Tijana: Great review Victoria, as always! Thank you!

    If someone knows where these can be tested in Canada that would be great. I went by the Toronto boutique a month ago and they hadn’t even heard of these coming, let alone know when they would be coming to the store! July 30, 2018 at 9:23am Reply

    • Victoria: I think that the Canada launch is a bit later, but they should be available at all Chanel counters. These are not exclusives. July 30, 2018 at 9:29am Reply

      • Tijana: Ah, that’s good to know, thank you! July 30, 2018 at 9:45am Reply

        • Pocketvenus: Tijana, I was in the boutique last week and they said they weren’t sure if they were even going to receive them! The Chanel counter in Holt Renfrew was similarly in the dark. July 31, 2018 at 11:35am Reply

          • Michele George: Weird, because there are testers of two (Biarritz & Venise, but not Deauville) at the Chanel counter at Pearson airport, terminal 1 duty free. July 31, 2018 at 11:54am Reply

            • Erin T: Michele, good to know! I’ll check them out next time I’m in Pearson. July 31, 2018 at 2:30pm Reply

          • Tijana: Ssme here, thank you! August 1, 2018 at 5:56am Reply

    • Jane Daly: Hi Tijana! Canada will not have these in counter at all – only on the Chanel website. And we won’t have Deauville- only Biarritz and Venise, which are beautiful. July 31, 2018 at 5:45pm Reply

      • Tijana: Thanks for the info! August 1, 2018 at 5:56am Reply

  • kat: I managed to get hold of samples of all three scents. I think Deauville also works for men due to its herbal tartness. It’s a great summer scent just not for me. Biarritz was a real letdown – citrus along with (too much) lily of the valley. Unfortunately it brought back memories of old-fashioned bathroom fresheners and not much else. Venise was the winner for me, very elegant and refined. Sweet but not coy like Biarritz. More like very expensive candy, sugarcoated violets for example – and at the same time soft and subtle. Too bad it’s almost impossible to get hold of – I felt very tempted. (I can’t say much about longevity since scents tend to leave me fast anyway.) July 30, 2018 at 9:27am Reply

    • Victoria: The lily of the valley notes are tricky. I also like Paris-Venise a lot, but I still need to test it better and determine whether it fills the same spot as Misia for me. The only difference is that Venise is more fleeting (even if less expensive), but their characters seemed similar. July 30, 2018 at 9:31am Reply

  • Filomena: Thank you for the review. I finally had a chance to sample all three of these. I liked Venise and Deauville the most but Venise disappeared on me within 15 minutes. July 30, 2018 at 9:42am Reply

    • Victoria: If you’ve smelled Misia, I’d love to know how Venise compared to you. We were just talking about the two further up the thread. July 30, 2018 at 9:47am Reply

      • Filomena: Sorry I am getting back to these comments long after they were posted. I own Misia in the EDT. I think Venise and Misia are similar in the way they smell so good when first sprayed but then they both disappear very quickly. I don’t think they smell similar but they are definitely of the same nature. Misia is more like a “lipstick” scent whereas Venice is very summery. Both would work all year long. September 5, 2018 at 10:42pm Reply

  • Tijana: Ah, that’s good to know, thank you! July 30, 2018 at 9:44am Reply

  • JuliaKateLucy: I wasn’t able to get samples of these, so my impressions are just from one spritz each on a card and on different spots on my hands and forearm while shopping. Venise was my favorite and I’m hoping to go back to the city to the Chanel boutique to purchase one and hopefully sample the other two as these seem to only be available in Chanel boutiques so far. July 30, 2018 at 10:53am Reply

    • Victoria: I’m curious to know which one you end up liking the most once you wear them. Venise is another beautiful one, for sure. July 31, 2018 at 11:13am Reply

  • Maz M: I love Deauville, especially once it has settled. We are experiencing a torrid humid heat here in KL, Malaysia. But the smell on my wrist last till evening.
    I kept the tester in my Moleskine and it still has that lovely whift. Planning to get one the next time I go to the city. July 30, 2018 at 11:48am Reply

    • Victoria: Brussels is not nearly as hot as KL, but it’s now around 30C and humid, so we’re getting there. 🙂 Anyway, Paris-Deauville works really well in this weather. July 31, 2018 at 11:15am Reply

  • Sandra: Thanks for reviewing this!
    I haven’t tried any of these yet.

    For the summer I have enjoyed draining my samples of Cristalle Verte (Flanker) and the Chance fraiche flanker.

    You look lovely in the photo by the way, it almost looks like a fake background July 30, 2018 at 11:56am Reply

    • Victoria: Thank you. Yes, that’s Sicily for you. Every corner is picture perfect. July 31, 2018 at 11:16am Reply

  • Stephanie: I am wearing Deauville today! I rather impulsively bought a bottle at duty-free earlier this month. “Elegant but not overly demanding” is a perfect description. I love the bottle, too! July 30, 2018 at 1:51pm Reply

    • Victoria: Enjoy it! It’s a good choice for summer. July 31, 2018 at 11:17am Reply

  • Ariadne: Love to see this review! Gives me a perspective on what I have been experiencing with the samples I have been trying of Deauville and Venise. I must say I like Venise better. I do own a fb of Misia and simply adore it. All of these three do not have the longevity that #22, Coco, and L’Eau Premier have on my skin though. But then when you get used to the mellow whiffs of perfume on the day after you’ve spritzed you miss it when it’s not there. Piggie piggie little perfume diva that I am. ;+) July 30, 2018 at 7:40pm Reply

    • Victoria: That’s true. They’re not as lasting as Coco or No 22, but they’re meant to be lighter. July 31, 2018 at 11:17am Reply

  • bregje: oooh,that sounds so good.
    I haven’t tried it yet, but the way you describe it makes me want to get a bottle right now 🙂

    I was just reminiscing Sicily today.Sitting by the ocean drinking an aperitivo with a large plate of
    all sorts of finger food.The smell of salty air and bitter orange.Bougainvillea blooming everywhere… July 30, 2018 at 11:07pm Reply

    • Victoria: Yes, it’s making me nostalgic for Sicily. July 31, 2018 at 11:18am Reply

  • Figuier: I miss Sicily! & I will certainly try Deauville, it sounds lovely.

    That said, I sprayed on Biarritz in duty free last month; it was pretty, but the base (musks?) felt uncomfortably radiant, like so many of the ‘nouveaux colognes’. I so much prefer the refreshing-but-fleeting traditional colognes to the ones that hang on by the skin of their sharp synthetic teeth… July 31, 2018 at 7:37am Reply

    • Victoria: I also find that effect too jarring. I prefer a softer finish. July 31, 2018 at 11:18am Reply

  • Patricia Borgenon: Dear Victoria,

    As a journalist I was rapidly informed about the lauch of Les Eaux de Chanel. And … as I know myself very well, I instantly and instinctively knew that Paris-Deauville was made for me.

    So, without any hesitation I ordered a bottle at my one and only Chanel boutique Place Vendôme, starring David and Steven.

    In my youth, I was a great fan of Eau Sauvage by Dior. Well, Paris – Deauville reminded me of it, just after à few sprays but just for a few minutes. The woody accords in this cologne are evoluating very rapidly on my skin and they stay quite long.

    As I am an habituée of the coast of Normandy and Bretagne in France, I find that Sicily is far away from Paris – Deauville. But for that you have to hang around in the green part of the countryside just before you join the French coastline. For example, in Bretagne, you can easily smell the spicy green vegetation on the sentiers côtiers. These are large green areas made for relatively experienced hackers. The vegetation is growing on the mountains and so when you are walking, you are higher than the sea and the iodic smells are melting with the vegetation in a very typical way. That’s what I smell in Paris – Deauville.
    A certain smell of woods, impregned by the smell of the sea.

    As a base for the cologne, I use the bodycrème Les Exclusifs de Chanel or the body lotion Body Excellence, to make it last as long as possible. Steven told me that the bodylotion will be available in August. So, this will be my next “investment”.

    Thank you very much for your review. I hope mine will complet it a little bit. July 31, 2018 at 9:01am Reply

    • Victoria: A beautiful review. Thank you very much for sharing it! How do you like the other two? July 31, 2018 at 11:19am Reply

      • Patricia Borgenon: Hello again Victoria,

        Yes I tried the other ones to. David and Steven were so kind to send me the samples of Paris-Biarritz and Paris-Venise with my purchase of Paris – Deauville.

        Well, to be honest they are very pleasant to use but they don’t survive much long on my skin. Biarritz is just not my thing and Venise took me in the direction of Coco Mademoiselle, but in a very soft way and even without the presence of any patchouli at all.

        Biarritz brings me a little green, but on my skin it’s simply killed by the spicy side in the dry down. I don’t also need the white musk in it. Same story for Venice, even in a more musky way. I allow myself to think that maybe Paris – Biarritz and Paris – Venise could be a step nearer to more spicy fragrances in winter. With the actual heatwaves succeeding each other in Belgium, to me it is not the ideal season to try warm scents. I am a huge fan of Chanel fragrances for years and even the Chanel l’Eau lasts the whole day on my skin. I’m certainly not the only one. But … winter is coming, even in fragrance land, to try the warmer fragrances isn’t it!

        In the meantime, I know why because I’m just made for green and woody perfumes and Biarritz but also Venice don’t contain the ‘fresh leaves’ precious to my nose

        Kind and very fresh regards from Bruges! August 1, 2018 at 2:00am Reply

        • Victoria: I agree, fragrances with heavier, warmer notes aren’t ideal right now. I also gravitate to green and bright scents. August 3, 2018 at 3:08am Reply

    • matty: A lovely review. Thank you July 31, 2018 at 12:01pm Reply

  • Raluca Zelinschi: It’s nice enough but not original in my opinion. I reminds me of Nerolino Portofino by Tom Ford. I’m disappointed in this because of lack of originality. of the three, I think I live Venise the most though I wish it were a proper perfume not just cologne. July 31, 2018 at 4:00pm Reply

    • Victoria: It’s a really well-crafted cologne, but you can go only so far with this idea. Venise reminded me of Misia too much, as if it was a diluted version of it. August 3, 2018 at 3:06am Reply

  • She-ra: Deauville was my favorite of the three…I have dubbed it Coco Mademoiselle Fresh. 😉 I am tempted to get a FB.

    I agree with Venise overlapping Misia and even 1932 a bit. I wore Venise and Misia to compare and preferred the latter. Been looking forward to your reviews of these! August 1, 2018 at 9:45am Reply

    • Victoria: I can see what you mean about the traces of 1932. I also put Venise in the same group. August 3, 2018 at 3:10am Reply

  • Austenfan: Not having smelled this cologne (yet) I don’t know if it fits at all with this song, which I think you may enjoy:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfJuvZAyVMc August 1, 2018 at 4:18pm Reply

    • Victoria: Perfect! It does fit it. 🙂 August 3, 2018 at 3:11am Reply

      • Austenfan: Glad that you enjoyed it! I love the wistfulness it expresses, August 3, 2018 at 11:42am Reply

      • Austenfan: I just tried the three colognes today and I think Deauville is my favourite as well. Also enjoyed Venise a lot. All in all I really like these Chanels and I’m not that partial to the house, but these are so wearable, pleasant and elegant, so what’s not to love? August 12, 2018 at 12:55pm Reply

        • Victoria: Exactly! Also, the price for the quantity and the craftsmanship is quite acceptable. I’m getting tired of niche brands overcharging with impunity. August 14, 2018 at 11:05am Reply

          • Austenfan: I didn’t check as I’m unlikely to purchase but I’m sure it is. I liked them a whole lot more than I did Gabrielle. If this particular section of my perfume collection wasn’t so crowded I might consider getting Deauville. August 14, 2018 at 11:38am Reply

            • Victoria: Gabrielle was a major disappointment after so long a wait. August 16, 2018 at 2:24am Reply

  • Oliver: Dear Victoria, I love your great reviews with such insights and deep knowledge on the ingredients. I have been wearing Eau Dynamisante by Clarins for years and it has become my signature scent. I would love to learn of your review on this. August 3, 2018 at 6:13am Reply

  • ClareObscure: Hello Victoria. Thanks for a beautifully written review of Paris-Deauville. Your photo is lovely & evocative of summer holidays in the sun, maybe in Sicily. A dream destination for me as I’m a big fan of all things citrus, coastal and of Inspector Montalbano. He is a modern day Poirot, a bon viveur with an admirable intellect.
    I can’t wait to try this cologne and have recently tried Frederic Malle’s Portrait of a Lady. I love it…thanks perfume fans. August 3, 2018 at 7:09am Reply

  • ClareObscure: Just needed to add an extra comment about appreciating your beautiful prose, Victoria. “…visions of endless blue sea, cliffs, orange orchards & jasmine vines.” You have transported us there. Lovely. August 3, 2018 at 10:04am Reply

  • Ann: Wonderful review, I hope I get the chance to smell Paris-Deauville. I met a Chanel exec at a wedding this summer, and I felt very smart being able to reference the release of the three new colognes. Her favorite was Venise. +1 for perfume habit helping with small talk!

    I love your photo 🙂 and your hat. Would love to hear more of your thoughts on hats. I am trying to improve my sun protection habits re: daily sunscreen, hats, etc. I still find sun-protection counter cultural for adults here on east coast of US, but it’s probably improved from when I was a child. August 3, 2018 at 11:17am Reply

  • Carla: I just got a sample at Nordstrom, haven’t tried it yet. Your bit about 1960’s real estate developers is very witty August 29, 2018 at 9:55pm Reply

  • Alicia: I liked Deauville, and it brought me to the Mediterranean shores.Bitter orange always take me to Seville, where its trees shades every street, redolent of orange blossom. September 25, 2018 at 9:12am Reply

  • OperaFan: I finally got a whiff of Deauville as well as Biarritz (on paper) at the airport duty free last month. I liked Biarritz, but LOVED Deauville. It reminds me of the classic Guerlain Eaux, and perhaps (going on distant memory) the old Clarins Eau Dynamisante.
    The card is more than 2 weeks old, and the scent still lingers. It’s definitely a candidate for my next cologne acquisition. I look forward to playing with it some more. October 8, 2018 at 1:04pm Reply

    • Victoria: Oh, I’m glad to hear your thoughts on it! Yes, it does linger well. October 10, 2018 at 1:15pm Reply

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