Agar Musk, Amande Persane, Archives 69, Bois de Violette, Bois et Fruits, Bois et Musc, Bois Oriental, Chaldée, Chypre Rouge, Coccoina, Comme des Garçons, Daphne, Eau de Patou, Et la Nuit sera Blanche et Noire, Etat Libre D'Orange, Fleur de Figuier, Frederic Malle, Jovoy, La Collecton Héritage, La Sultane de Saba, Le parfum de Thérèse, Les Parfums de Rosine, Nose, Patou, Patou Pour Homme, Penhaligon's, Ramon Monegal Barcelona, Roger & Gallet, Serge Lutens, Shiseido-Salons du Palais Royal, Un Folie de Rose, Vaara, Vive la Mariée, Voyage en Orient, Voyage sur la route des épices
My second sniffing itinerary started at 69, rue des Archives, home of Etat Libre d’Orange (A on the map above), and inspiration for the Archives 69 (***) fragrance, a weirdly fascinating spicy/aromatic/gourmand concoction, that expresses well the transgressive spirit of the brand. A very friendly shop assistant confirmed that their candles were discontinued and only a few pieces remain. I will miss Et la Nuit sera Blanche et Noire very much.
On my way to Nose, I was attracted to a wonderful oriental/aromatic smell. It came from La Sultane de Saba beauty farm (8 bis Rue Bachaumont) and of course I got in. They have some fragrances: a musk, an oud ant two not very original but well constructed and pleasant ambers: Voyage sur la route des épices (**), very vanillic, and the fresher Voyage en Orient (**), known also as Ambre, Musc, Santal. The beautician kindly gave me a small black foulard, drenched in Voyage sur la route des épices, which protected me from the olfactory nightmare of public transport in summer.
Nose (20, rue Bachaumont B), instead, is a perfume blogger’s dream: it’s a large, luminous space open on the road, with super nice shop assistant, who asked: “do you prefer to explore on your own or would you like me to guide you?”. If you want to be left alone, you can smell all you want, if you need guidance, they recommend you the fragrances belonging to the same family of your favorite ones. And, in any case, they’re very generous with samples.
Shiseido-Salons du Palais Royal (142 Galerie de Valois C), home of the exclusive Serge Lutens line, sold only in Paris and New York, was basically a disappointment. The staff is polite, multilingual and the shop looks like a magician’s laboratory, all dark wood, velvet and mysterious bottles, but the “exclusive fragrances” many of which, such as Chypre Rouge ** were normally distributed and then pulled off the market, don’t smell any better, or any more original, than the “ordinary” ones. For instance, Bois de Violette (**), Bois et Fruits (**), Bois Oriental (**) and Bois et Musc all seem to be lesser versions of Feminité du Bois (***, used to be a **** before reformulation).
A few steps further under the same arcade you will find the cute Les Parfums de Rosine flagship store (105 Galerie de Valois D). This brand is devoted to exploring alla sides of the rose essence. And there are many: fruity roses, masculine roses, marine roses, white roses such as the new Vive la Mariée (**)…
Through I’m not a “rose” person, I was taken by Un Folie de Rose (***), a great classic chypre. The lovely shop assistant speaks only French, but this only adds to the all-parisian charm of the place.
Roger & Gallet has recently opened its new flagship store at 213 Rue de Saint-Honoré (E). It may be a drugstore brand, but I think they make excellent light colognes. The new fruity flowery Fleur de Figuier (**) was created by Francis Kurkdijan. There is also a french exclusive, not exported to other countries: Amande Persane (***). It smells of almonds and coconut and reminded me of the Coccoina glue I used in primary school.
Further down the street, at n°219 (F) there’s a Penhaligon’s, where the new Vaara (**) is available, even if only for testing. It’s another India inspired work by Bertrand Duchafour, a fruity woody scent vaguely similar to Neela Vermeire’s Bombay Bling. There are also some classics, such as Hammam Bouquet (***) at 50% discount. A few steps away there is the concept store Colette (G), much revered by parisian fashionistas and perfumistas. But I must say I didn’t find anything special there.
Right opposite Colette, Rue du Marché Saint-Honoré leads to Comme des Garçons Parfums, (23, Place du Marché Saint-Honoré) (H) with windows that look as they were made of bubblegum. They have all the Comme scents, plus the Monocle series and other wonderful fragrances such as Daphne (***).
Rue de Castiglione is “the” fragrance street. At the corner with Rue Saint-Honoré you find Guerlain on the right (with snobbish shop assistants) and Annick Goutal on the left. (I) At n° 5 lies the Patou flagship store, where you can sample La Collecton Héritage: three fragrances from the glorious past of the brand: Chaldée (*) a disappointing floriental, Eau de Patou (*) and Patou Pour Homme (*).
Opposite of it, at n°4 (K), there is Jovoy, one of the most famous niche perfumeries in the world. They have many niche brands, including their own and very helpful but not imposing shop assistants. There I discovered some interesting lines I never saw in Italy, for instance Ramon Monegal Barcelona. In this line, I love the enwrapping, beautiful, Agar Musk (***).
The tour ended at Frederic Malle Editions de Parfum (21, Rue du Mont Thabor L) , where the shop assistant totally ignored me for about half an hour. She was busy interviewing a client: she asked her about her favourite fragrances, her olfactory memories, whi she wanted to buy a new prefume. More than a fragrance consultation, it was like a psychanalitic session. At the end of it, the client left, carrying a packet and beaming: she had clearly found the fragrance of her life. The Frederic Malle collection is a must-smell and Le Parfum de Thérèse (****) an absolute masterpiece. But I recommend getting an appointment.