Sunday, February 11, 2007

Planning for Paris

Though a lover of categories, sorting systems and guides, I am by no means a list-maker - that is, I never write down "Things to Do". Gearing myself up in anticipation of my trip, however, and worrying I will not get to test a masterpiece, I have been making mental lists of places to go and scents to sniff in France. I have a generous yet still limiting budget of 305 Euros (about $400 US) and one or two full days for sniffage in Paris. (We will be visiting London for two days, but will be jet-lagged. Also, we plan on spending a day in Grasse by the Fragonard and Molinard factories. Our "home base" is Nice.) Below is my plan; please suggest things I'm obviously missing. As well, feel free to tell me I'm a fool and will never get to all these places with the time and skin I have.

Serge Lutens Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido: One of a few must-sees on my list, this is the only place I know for certain I'm purchasing something: a bell-jar of Chêne. Besides soaking in the décor and the polite chill of the sales assistants, I also must do some thorough testing of the three exclusive scents I have never sampled before: Muscs Koublaï Khan, Cuir Mauresque and Un Lys. I'm hoping I'm allowed to do a skin test of Bois Oriental as well, since the tiny sample vial I tried previously may have hampered my ability to gauge its impact: all I got was a little dusting of spice with a warm, vanillic skin aspect. (See my Les Eaux Boisées reviews here.)

Parfums de Nicolaï: Less than half a mile away from Serge Lutens is the flagship store of Parfums de Nicolaï. The fact that I'm still mournfully sniffing my completely dry sample vial of Nicolaï Pour Homme suggests to me that I should buy a bottle of this one, and I've heard the prices in France on Nicolaï products are better than the North American ones, but I shall have to wait and see. On the sampling side, I've wanted to try Vie de Château for some time. Generally, I find the Nicolaï perfumes for women too sweet and tonka-based for me, but I am interested in the brand new Maharanih, since the listed notes include lavender, geranium, sandalwood and amber - just like my beloved Nicolaï Pour Homme. Also, I'd like to check out a few of the "Light" versions of the women's classics said to be sold at the Paris outlets only.

Guerlain Boutique on the Champs Elysées: The Guerlain boutique is another definite stop. Though I am somewhat confused by the mention of various addresses and set-ups (organ? fountains?) for the main Guerlain boutique, I assume I am going to be allowed to sniff anything I want from the current collection in any concentration I want. I'm looking into buying what the Guerlain website describes as a "Bees Spray" of Après l'Ondée EdT, and I am probably most anxious to test Mitsouko in parfum form. Also interesting to me are Chamade, Chant d'Arôme, Parure and the current "undelete" or limited edition (is it still Sous le Vent? I've tried that one...)

Caron Boutique, 90 rue Faubourg- St. Honoré: Caron will probably necessitate a stop, since I have never tried Tabac Blond. To my shame. I would also like to try Pois de Senteur (although it does not sound to my taste) and Aimez Moi (which is not showing up on the Caron website anymore for some reason?)

Chanel at 31 Rue Cambon: The stop here, of course, would be to try the new Exclusifs. No matter how madly I fall in love with, say, No. 18 or 31 Rue Cambon, I refuse to buy a vat of it. I will wait patiently until someone (me?) organizes a bottle split. I am going to need a liquid sample or three, however, and will probably have to bribe a sales assistant into them; I may even take along some empty vials, as Ina bravely did.

Frédéric Malle at 21 Rue du Mont Thabor: While I already smelled this whole line two years ago at Barneys in Los Angeles, when I bought my beloved Thérèse, I have felt that I gave several scents short shrift at that time: in particular, I would like to revisit Vétiver Extraordinaire and Cologne Bigarade. I don't remember testing Lys Mediterranée at all, so I should probably re-do that one, too.

Old England: Not too far from our hotel is the Old England store, recommended to me by a Parisian fragrance addict, "carmencanada" as some of you may know her. She suggested the store's men fragrance section is particularly well-stocked and they carry many niche lines that I have sorely neglected. In particular, I'd like to (re)try Creed's Bois du Portugal and Cypres-Musc, Knize's Sec and Forest, Penhaligon's Opus 1870 and Parfums d'Empire Eau de Glorie.

Etat Libre d'Orange: If I get a chance to try these much-discussed scents, I'll focus on Vierges et Toreros, Jasmin et Cigarette, Rien and Putain des Palaces.

I think that's enough to contemplate at the moment. I've sampled most of the Annick Goutals, though not many in EdP - still, I think I won't have too much trouble getting what I need from the line in North America. Jean Patou would tempt me much more if they had the Ma Collection available for sniffage. I've not had luck with the Montales I've tried so far, and the Miller et Bertaux's - the first three of which I enjoyed - I can get online. L'Artisan I'm going to try to avoid because their line is so full and interesting that I will surely be overwhelmed with all the ones I want to purchase. Also, I already have two L'Artisan scents that I seldom wear because I loved them initially, but the transparency and lack of classical development eventually got to me. Oh okay, I will try Timbuktu. And.... well, I would like to try Molinard's Tendre Friandise. And what else?

Update: Of course, I did forget J.A.R. My wonderful spouse got me a sample of Bolt of Lightning for Christmas and it is wonderful and unusual, if highly unwearable for your average day. While I certainly cannot afford to buy any of the scents, I do think that everybody should attempt to experience these, so I'm particularly interested in Jarling, Jardenia (I ain't afraid of no cheese) and Shadow.

15 Comments:

At 6:03 AM, Blogger colombina said...

I am reading this and my skin is acquiring an increasingly unattractive shade of envious green color. :-)

Seriously though, I hope you have an amazing time!!

 
At 6:45 AM, Anonymous Kathy said...

I don't have any advice because I've never been to Paris, but I am so envious! It sounds like a wonderful trip, and I can't wait to hear reviews when you get back.

Have a great time!

 
At 8:42 AM, Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Well, Tigs, that seems like a decent list. Chêne is top of my list too, though I've decided to wait patiently for the export LE rather than get a bell jar. It's magnificent (and I've just read your truly wonderful set of reviews and now I'm craving sniffage of them all!!!) - I might have to hunt down a decant in the meantime. I'm sure you'll get a lot out of the three SLs you plan to sniff - they're all remarkable scents (I'm convinced Cuir Mauresque and Tabac Blond are related, or if not close friends...)

Please try Nicolaï's candles and roomsprays while you're there - they really are worth it. Truly the best there is in my opinion. I particularly love Vetiver de Java, Havane, oh and loads of others. All dirt cheap in France compared to the US (almost half the price iirc...)

If you don't have time for Etat, I wouldn't worry, though it's in a beautiful part of Paris (near the Picasso museum). I can always send you mine - I'd be happy to! Though Secretions has wandered off somewhere with the Blonde. Heaven only knows what they're up to, the hussies.

Not far from there, near the glorious Place des Vosges (the best square in Paris), there are the best felafels in all the world...

Have a ball everywhere else!

 
At 10:51 AM, Blogger Erin said...

I can't imagine you unattractive, c dear. Thanks for the well wishes. I hope to make your envy up to you in thorough reviews. Are there any samples I can try to get for you?

 
At 10:55 AM, Blogger Erin said...

Thanks kathy! I am going to take my testing notebook, obviously, so I hope to have weeks worth of material for review. I was to Paris once before when I was 16 on a trip with the Girl Guides and the scent I remember best is unfortunately that our group was tear-gassed by fleeing purse snatchers in the Metro. It was unpleasant, but they did not manage to get any purses and they suffered the indignity of being beaten upon and shreiked at by 20 teenage girls.

 
At 11:05 AM, Blogger Erin said...

leo: Is/was Chene an LE? I kind of remember something about that...

I really aprreciate the info on Nicolai home fragrances - I am very interested in these products, both for myself and as gifts. (My mom wants lamp oil.) Turin is always writing how he has a friend that says the Vetiver de Java is good enough to start a religion from scratch. Havane sounds wonderful too, and that Coin de Feu - have you tried the latter?

Thanks also for the Etat offer. I will try my best to get there, but I'll let you know when I get home. Also, great news about the felafels, as I'm a nut for them. So often you get them at restraunts and they're terrible, like little pieces of dried out cork.

 
At 11:49 AM, Anonymous Leopoldo said...

Well, the felafel place is in the Jewish quarter - if memory serves, it's off Rue des Francs Bourgeois, just a few steps befor you cross a big main road before Place des Vosges - on the left. I feel like I'm being vague and precise at the same time...

Chêne is apparently coming out in the autumn / winter as LE export - so I've heard anyway.

Coin de Feu I've had in the room spray beofre, and Ambre de Fou. Both are lovely. I'd like to give the lamp oil a go myself.

 
At 2:13 PM, Blogger Erin said...

I got so hungry discussing it, I had to go off and get me some Lebanese food. Thanks! Now that I'm back that LE news would normally make me consider buying a bell jar of another exclusive that I like (BdV, TC or Rahat, for example) but with Chene I just go "wheeeeeeee!" Back-up bottle, here I come. I hope I like CM half as much.

 
At 5:13 AM, Blogger chaya ruchama said...

Whomever sent you the last bunch of nasty business ought to be SHOT !

[Unless it's a virus]

Enjoy, sweet thing !

SL is right behind the Louvre, in a labyrinthine courtyard, but you'll find it ...

We'll miss you !

 
At 12:01 PM, Blogger Erin said...

Chaya: Thank you so much - I'll miss you guys too! I'll also miss my daily blog *reading*. I'm worried about how my blog will fare actually, since I delete about two disgusting "comments" a day advertising porn. I may be able to check in and maybe even post once or twice via my DH's Blackberry, we'll see.

 
At 3:44 PM, Blogger marchlion said...

Sticking my nose in to say:

1) Have a great time!
2) That's an ambitious schedule. If you have to drop someone, drop the ELdOs. Only saying because their lasting power is enormous (will NOT go away) and - damn -- they can wait, go smell the classics. I *think* Caron and Guerlain have stuff you can't smell anywhere else...
3) Eat three baguettes a day. Also, those crepes are great emergency food when you're walking and tired.
4) The Bon Marche on the left bank in the 6th is the sort of hip dept store that makes me weep with envy; nice selection of fragrances, and their giant food hall across the street is not to be believed. I also got a pair of velvet, pointy-toed Morroccan style slipper shoes in their shoe dept that I adore, and make me smile every time I look at them.

 
At 4:21 PM, Blogger Erin said...

March: We love your nose - stick it in any time! Thanks for the advice and the well wishing. Yes, I think my schedule is overly ambitious and I've kind of been guessing that the Etats would be one of the lines to skip this time if something needed to be dropped. My buddy who lives here was telling me he survived in Paris on Nutella crepes. And several people have told me to check out the Printemps (?) department store: been there?

 
At 6:31 PM, Blogger marchlion said...

Um .. I went to Printemps and the other one near Printemps -- I think one of them has closed for remodeling -- and I have to say I was underwhelmed, although one of them is in a pretty fabulous historic building, with the center of the store (where the stairs are) open from the bottom to the roof. But I liked Bon Marche better.

 
At 7:38 PM, Blogger marchlion said...

PS Here's a link to an article about Bon Marche -- apparently it has the biggest "beauty floor"

You will have so much fun!

http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/12/18/style/fbon.php

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Erin said...

The historical building is the Gallerie Lafayette? It has a good cafe on the roof to eat at, I understand. Otherwise, you're right, that Bon Marche looks like the pick of the crop. They have a Caron store, too, I notice.

 

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