what to buy in europe: 26 posts

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.

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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.

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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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Bien-etre L’Eau Parfumee des Familles : French Pharmacy Discovery and Review

I’ve been reading a lot of Marie Claire lately. You see, if I read it in English, I feel self-indulgent, but if I read it in French, I can justify the time spent as a language practice. Plus, since the French Marie Claire comes with a Belgian insert, I learn a lot about new lines and local products. My latest discovery is Bien-être L’Eau Parfumée des Familles. Besides Caudalie Divine Oil (Huile Divine), the French beauty press has fallen hard for this simple cologne. Described variously as “a little scented trinket” or a “light and bright scent for a midsummer night’s dream,” it caught my attention too, as did its great price  of 6 € ($7.50) for a 250ml bottle.

It’s a light citrusy cologne that dries down to a powdery floral musk. Intended for the whole family, including children, it has the typical scent of French baby products–orange blossom. L’Eau Parfumée des Familles also weaves some crisp violet and grape notes, in addition to cedarwood, and its scent is at once lighthearted and sophisticated.

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Summer Inspired Recommendations from French Marie Claire : Perfumed Oils

The summer came to Brussels overnight. I went to bed on a cold, rainy day and woke up to dazzling sunshine. As the mercury levels starting rising, my colorful summer dresses came out of their hiding spots in the closet as did my strappy sandals and kitten heels. I also resumed my passionate love affair with big white floral perfumes that bloom particularly well in hot, balmy weather. But a couple of weeks later autumn flew into my room on a small golden leaf that landed right on my desk, a reminder that the summer extravagance will soon come to an end.

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I felt a pang of sadness as I always do when I realize that the summer vacation is drawing to its end. Wondering how I could retain my summery mood, I remembered an article from the August issue of French Marie Claire, Un huile à tout faire pour satiner. It described the all-purpose dry oils, from voluptuous Caudalie Divine Oil to elegant L’Artisan Parfumeur Premier Figuier Dry Oil, that make summer beauty rituals so alluring. So, I’ve decided to transition into the fall with some summer inspired pampering.

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Guerlain Encens Mythique d’Orient : Fragrance Review

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During my last trip to the Middle East almost three years ago, my camera broke down, and I couldn’t take a single photo. At first, the missed opportunity to capture the blazing whiteness of marble buildings, the majestic and scary beauty of the desert, and the dazzle of gold displays made me wince with regret each time I came upon another beautiful scene. But after a while, I realized that maybe my camera wouldn’t be necessary after all; the scents surrounding me were so strong and vivid that today I have no trouble recalling either the aroma of ripe dates–caramel and honey!–or the heady fragrance of cardamom and rosewater flavored coffee. And of course, the perfumes! Both the men and women I encountered were exquisitely perfumed. Smoky roses, honeyed oud mixed with patchouli, sandalwood roughed up by smoky leather… I had to fight the urge to ask every other person in the street what they were wearing.

But out of their hot desert context, some of these perfumes felt heavy and one-dimensional when I tried wearing them back home. They were still beautiful, but they required a certain mood or an occasion, and for this reason I wore them much less often than I anticipated. Similarly, Middle Eastern inspired fragrances like Montale and SoOud were compelling in theory, but in practice I rarely craved them. When Guerlain announced its Les Déserts d’Orient collection, comprised of Rose Nacrée du Désert, Songe d’Un Bois d’Été, and Encens Mythique d’Orient, I was worried that it might be overly glitzy and flamboyant for me.

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Latest Comments

  • Elisa in Perfumista Bait: It took me a long time to feel confident in, and “ready” for Coco too! Isn’t that strange, how we can completely fall in love with something but not buy… November 21, 2017 at 11:42am

  • Sandra in Perfumista Bait: I fell for fragrance when I smelled Obsession in the 90’s and Cristalle. Some fragrances that captured my attention, but at that time I was no confident enough to wear… November 21, 2017 at 11:37am

  • Elisa in Perfumista Bait: I’ve experience the same thing, Nora — I now love things that I originally thought I hated, whether it was materials or styles. There are now very few things that… November 21, 2017 at 9:47am

  • Elisa in Perfumista Bait: It’s like the Area 51 of perfumes! November 21, 2017 at 9:45am

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