perfume lover’s paris: 9 posts

Paris Autumn Walks : The Basilica of Saint Denis

If I made a map of my favorite walks in Paris, the routes would invariably lead to an old church, a cemetery, a café or a market. They would circumvent the glamorous Paris of the tourist brochures and explore the places where the ancient and the modern city coexist, where the mysteries linger, and where one can satisfy one’s hunger, literal and figurative. Paris is often associated with spring, romance and blossoming, but my Paris is autumn, fallen leaves and the light streaming through the stained glass windows.

The Basilica of Saint Denis, Basilique royale de Saint-Denis, is one of those large French Gothic churches that to a non-expert eye are hard to tell apart. Even the fact that it has only one tower instead of the usual two can get lost as one contemplates its imposing size. Yet, the space inside the basilica is so elegant with its slender windows, graceful columns and candlelight filled enfilades that I’d take a stroll here over visiting Notre-Dame. It’s worth a metro ride to Saint-Denis, a northern suburb of Paris that manages to be both bland and seedy. My Paris explorations often end up here.

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The Olfactory Journey Exhibit

How does scent accompany your life? How do smells help you recall certain events in your past? Photojournalist Eléonore de Bonneval weaves a complex tableau of memories and impressions in her multisensory exhibit titled “The Olfactory Journey” and held in Paris between  7 November and 15 December 2016. She uses smells, sounds, and images to recreate personal journeys and memories of twenty residents of Bretonneau, a geriatric hospital in Paris, France.

voyages-olfactifs-expo-bretonneau-online

As de Bonneval explains, “Residents recall with nostalgia the smell of dishes cooked by their parents or grandparents, of family holidays and even the smell of the cellar, an odor which for some Parisians is strongly associated with the Second World War. Whilst reading and hearing these stories, we discover not only “the smell of friendship” and ‘the smell of freedom’ but also ‘the smell of fear’.”

Exhibition by Eléonore de Bonneval
7 November – 15 December 2016

Hôpital Bretonneau
rue principale
23 rue Joseph de Maistre
75018 Paris
Free Entry | all days | 9h – 17h

Roger & Gallet Oeillet Mignardise Soap

If I had a vintage vanity table with a large mirror, I would decorate it with perfume bottles, makeup brushes and neat rows of lipstick and nail polish. I would fill the candy dishes with face powder pearls and top them with colorful Caron powder puffs. And I would be sure to keep at least one package of Roger & Gallet Oeillet Mignardise soap in the drawer for that distinctive whiff of carnation scented retro glamour. Then nothing would stop me from feeling like a Hollywood starlet, the lack of other qualifications notwithstanding.

rg soap1

A girl can dream, right? While I have no space or practical use for a vanity table–my makeup application is usually a distinctly unglamorous, rushed affair conducted in the bathroom, the carnation part of my fantasy is something I insist on keeping. Oeillet Mignardise is a simple way of having it, and I usually stuff these soap bars in my linen closet and lingerie drawer, in addition to using them in the shower. If I had to use a single type of soap for the foreseeable future, Oeillet Mignardise would be it.

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What to Buy in Paris : French Pharmacy Finds

Perfume shops, chocolate stores, lingerie boutiques, pâtisseries… When I’m in Paris, I can’t resist any of them, especially since the fine-tuned French sense of design extends as much to the products as to the window displays. But I will tell you honestly that if I had to pick my favorite shopping ground, it would be a pharmacy. It’s a treasure trove of finds for anyone who loves scented products and skincare, or simply enjoys searching for affordable and interesting brands.

paris-invalidespharmacy1

Of course, pharmacies are not a Parisian phenomenon. If you travel in Europe, you will quickly notice stores with a neon green cross. Within two blocks of my apartment building in Brussels there are about 5 or 6 pharmacies. It’s more than a store where you get your medicine. It’s the place where you go to complain about your illnesses, the weather and the lack of government (although in my observation, Belgians don’t complain much about the latter; in fact, they can go for months without electing one). You can also buy skin and hair care products, perfume, soaps, vitamins, and an array of bizarre slimming supplements advertised by close ups of perfectly tanned behinds.

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Paris Perfume Shopping : Directory of Fragrance, Food, Fashion and More

Verar

Paris and perfume… These words are synonymous for most perfume lovers, and shortly after creating Bois de Jasmin in 2005, one of my first long articles was devoted to perfume shopping in Paris. Part I and Part II offered a walking tour of the capital’s best fragrant treasures. Since then, I have been meaning to update these posts with a directory of Paris fragrant destinations, based on my visits and new discoveries. This directory will include various perfume shopping destinations as well as my other favorite addresses.

The directory is frequently updated, therefore please check back periodically to see new additions, changes and updates. L indicates Left Bank, and R—Right Bank. If you have your own favorite places in Paris, whether perfume, food, fashion or art related, please do not hesitate to share. Of course, if you visit any of these places and have your own experiences (and updates!), please comment!

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