5 of the finest French fragrances

5 of the finest French fragrances

Have a nose around Paris’ most fragrant boutiques – you can buy the most inspiring perfumes here and the memories are priceless


Some of the world's most proficient noses are at work in Paris, sustaining a tradition that harks back to the medieval period when fragrances were essentially used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. From famous classics to luxury niche lines and cutting-edge concoctions, you’re in for a multi-sensory journey in the city of l’amour.


1. Fragonard

Utter the world ‘traditional’ to any perfumer and the name Fragonard (fragonard.com) will come up instantly. Established in 1926 in Grasse in the south of France, Fragonard has built upon – and sustained – a reputation for classic, sophisticated scents consistent with its ethos. Feeling nostalgic? Whimsical memories will be triggered by the perfumes at either of Fragonard’s two branches in the first and fourth arrondissements.


2. JAR Parfum

JAR Parfum is owned by Joel A Rosenthal, the most famous jeweller you’ve never heard of. Despite not having a website or any social media presence, the mysterious mastermind, who, like Jay
Z, choses to go by the name of JAR, has amassed a cult following. Six intoxicating perfumes are on display in his teensy, velvet adorned shop in Place Vendôme, each sporting names like Shut Your Eyes and Bolt of Lightening. The latter, inspired by the scent of the air just after a lightening has struck, is priced at AED 2, 810 an ounce. Breathe it in slowly: it might just electrify your world. Given his credentials as a jeweller – Diane von Furstenberg calls him the Fabergé of our time – the bottles housing his potions are nothing short of magnificent. A word of warning: the shop has no display window, no regular hours and opens its doors to only a select few.


3. By Kilian

The dashing Kilian is a descendant of the Hennessy dynasty, a long line of cognac-makers who were pioneers in luxury. Having trained with the greatest noses in perfumery and worked with Christian Dior, Paco Rabanne, Alexander
McQueen and Giorgio Armani, in 2007 he launched By Kilian, (bykilian.com) his namesake brand that’s as seductive as the man itself. Each creation comes with it own story from, ‘In the garden of good and evil’ to ‘Addictive state of mind’. Trust us, it’s easy to become obsessed. The recyclable bottles mean you’ll be stocking up on refills with every return trip.


4. Serge Lutens - Les Salons du Palais Royal

With its spiralling steel staircase descending into a silvery cavern of scent, Serge Lutens – Les Salons du Palais Royal (en.sergelutens.com) is a blistering star in the niche fragrance business. Starting his career as a hair apprentice aged 14, Serge can now add photographer, filmmaker, hair stylist, perfume art-director and fashion designer to his awe-inspiring CV. His unisex scents are both sentimental and expectant. Veilleur de Nuit (AED 2,571 for 50ml) is a rich, chocolaty, bittersweet scent that makes you feel warm and fluttery inside.


5. Annick Goutal

Annick Goutal (annickgoutal.com) was a pianist and a model before she found her true calling as a perfumer, launching her first collection in 1980. Annick sadly passed away in 1999 with her daughter Camille and perfumer Isabelle Doyen taking over the baton. Their latest offering, Eau du Sud, plops you into a piazza in Sicily, where the air is laden with scents of citrus and the sea. The boudoir-style boutique, which also artfully displays their signature lingerie collection, is bringing femininity back – in a fabulously frilly, flouncy way.


Source: Condé Nast Traveller Middle East


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