jeudi 2 juillet 2009

Paris Perfume Pilgrimage, Part I: the Right Bank

Sooner or later, all perfume lovers seem to end up in Paris, don’t they?
Because I’m asked so often for recommendations, I thought I’d toss off a (certainly incomplete) itinerary. If you plan to be very thorough, you’ll need at least three full afternoons to do this…
This first part covers the main spots on the Right Bank. It’s a lot to handle at one go so you’ll probably want to divide it up in two or three sessions, but I’ve tabled on superhuman strength and a couple of pit stops at Ladurée for refreshment…
If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to add them in the comments!

I usually meet up with perfumista friends at the Café Le Nemours (Métro Palais-Royal) on the place Colette, right behind the weird metro exit that looks like it’s been decorated for Christmas, to fortify ourselves with a good express on the terrace under the arcades, before setting out.
Then it’s off to the Palais-Royal. Head under the arcades of the Galerie Valois (on the right with your back to the place Colette) through the gardens of the Palais-Royal for your first stop: Shiseido Salons du Palais Royal, where you can sample Serge Lutens’ fabled bell jar collection. Don’t be put off by the quiet, solemn mood of the shop: the SAs aren’t snobbish, they’re just very enigmatic… Like the master of the premises. Please note, if you’re going in with a shopping list for all your friends back home, that you can only purchase ten bottles at one go, so bring a friend if your order list is longer.
Continue to the very end of the gallery and you’ll find Les Parfums de Rosine’s pretty little candy-box shop: the manager is adorable, extremely talkative and generous with samples.
Now go back by the galerie Montpensier almost all the way to the entrance of the Palais-Royal but take the galerie de Chartres to your right just before you reach the Comédie-Française and take the rue de Richelieu where you’ll find Parfums de Nicolaï’s main shop.
Go back towards the Louvre and take a right on to the rue Saint-Honoré : you’ll pass Penhaligon’s before landing in front of Colette. The famously trendy concept store which is a place of pilgrimage for every style-conscious tourist: there is a perfumery section on the first floor with a Le Labo counter and sundry rarities such as By Mark Buxton or Wienerblut.
As you come out of Colette, cross to the other side of the rue Saint-Honoré, where you'll find Jo Malone and take the first street to your left, the rue du Marché Saint-Honoré. You’ll be walking towards a glass building in the middle of a square, the Place du Marché Saint-Honoré. Once you’re in front of that building, you should see the Comme des Garçons perfume shop to your left, where you can peruse the whole collection.
Go back towards the rue Saint-Honoré and continue westwards: you’ll come across the rue de Castiglione.
If you take to the left, you’ll find Annick Goutal and JAR – there, no notes, no samples, no spritzes: you’ll be invited to sniff and ponder…
On the other side of the street you’ll find Jean Patous flagship store: there, you can discover the different materials used for their fragrances. If you’re very lucky, you may be able to take a peek at the perfume bar where Jean-Michel Duriez meets clients for bespoke perfumes.
If you take to the right, you’ll cross the place Vendôme (the Ritz will be on your left): this will take you to the rue de la Paix, where you will find Montale on one side of the street, then a little further on the other side, Amin Kader sells the Santa Maria Novella line.

From there, you have the choice.
You can go on towards the Paris Opéra and make your way to the two big department stores. If you go to your left (facing the Opera) you’ll reach the rue Scribe where you will find the Parfums Divine shop where Hélène will be happy to show you around, shower you with samples or refill your flacons at the fountain.
Then you can visit the Galeries Lafayette, which stocks most mainstream brands as well as a new Amouage counter and, a little further, Le Printemps de la Beauté: head for the Scent Room at the far end of the ground floor, where you’ll find many niche brands including Honoré des Prés, Lubin, James Heeley, Maître Parfumeur et Gantier, Etro, Juliette has a gun, Lost March, Berdoues, along with the usual suspects (Lutens, Goutal, By Kilian, L’Artisan…).
Then there’s Plan B: from the place Vendôme, head back towards the rue Saint-Honoré and cross it: you’ll pass in front of the Hotel Costes and its boutique, the only one in Paris to sell Olivia Giacobetti’s IUNX line: you’ll also find Costes’ room fragrance and candles. The manager, Ronald, will greet you, but please don’t go around trying to spray yourselves – he’s the one who handles the testers!
Continue on the rue Saint-Honoré and you’ll come across the rue Cambon: take a right to go to Chanel’s historic shop at number 31. This is the place to go to buy Cuir de Russie, Bois des Iles, N°22 and Gardénia in the extrait… But any Chanel will smell better in that beautiful black and white bag!
If you can stand another detour, go down the rue Cambon almost all the way to the rue de Rivoli: just before you get to Rivoli, you'll find a small side street, the rue du Mont-Thabor. Facing Rivoli, take a left on Mont-Thabor and you'll find a tiny Frédéric Malle (in case you don't make it to the larger shop on the Left Bank). It's really blink-and-you-miss-it, so keep your eyes open!
Now retrace your steps back to the rue Saint-Honoré and keep going westwards: it will become the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré once you cross the rue Royale. This is where you can stop for a break at Ladurée Royale, to your right… They now sell beauty products and house fragrances: worth sampling for those with a gourmand bent, and the pastel-colored packaging is utterly French, totally adorable.
A little further and you’ll reach the Hermès flagship store – the shop windows are always a treat. If you’ve still got the energy, continue on the same sidewalk all the way to Parfums Caron – a better option than their avenue Montaigne shop where the service is a little off-putting. You’ll find the urn perfumes and can ask to smell their two ouds, very true to the house spirit.
If you want to skip Hermès and Caron, when you come out of the Chanel boutique you can take the rue Cambon down to the rue de Rivoli, hop on the metro (line 1, direction La Défense) and get off at the Franklin Roosevelt station. Walk towards the Arc the Triomphe, right-hand sidewalk facing the Arc and you’ll stumble on the famed 68 Champs-Élysées, Guerlain’s flagship store. Waste no time and go right up to the first floor where the goodies are.
A huge Sephora is just a step away, if you’ve go any breath left. To recuperate, you can cross the Champs and enjoy tea and macarons at Ladurée Champs Élysées.
Still up for it?
Turn your back to the Arc, cross the Champs-Élysées, walk back to the rue de Marignan: at the end of the street you’ll find the newly renovated Nina Ricci boutique, which stocks the classics in the extraits, including the über-rare Coeur-Joie composed by Germaine Cellier to celebrate the end of WW2. Across the street, the Dior boutique sells Diorling, Diorama, Eau Fraîche as well as the three fancy boutique exclusives, Passage N°9 (tuberose), Passage N°8 (violet) and Passage N°4 (rose) in flacons reproduced from the original Miss Dior bottle.
If you've missed Chanel on the rue Cambon, they have another just on the avenue Montaigne, if you go from Dior towards the Champs-Élysées...
And now, you can officially collapse.
Shiseido Salons du Palais Royal: 142 Galerie de Valois 75001
Les Parfums de Rosine : 105 Galerie de Valois 75001
Parfums de Nicolaï : 28 rue de Richelieu 75001
Penhaligon’s : 209 rue Saint-Honoré 75001
Colette : 213 rue Saint-Honoré 75001
Jo Malone: 326 rue Saint-Honoré 75001
Comme des Garçons : 23 place du Marché Saint-Honoré 75001
Annick Goutal : 14 rue de Castiglione 75001
JAR : 24 rue de Castiglione 75001
Jean Patou : 5 rue de Castiglione 75001
Montale : 26 place Vendôme 75001
Amine Kader : 1 rue de la Paix 75002
Divine : 3 rue Scribe 75009
Costes (IUNX) : 239 rue saint-Honoré 75001
Chanel : 31 rue Cambon 75001 / 42 avenue Montaigne 75008
Frédéric Malle: 21 rue du Mont-Thabor 75001
Ladurée Royale : 16 rue Royale 75008
Hermès : 24 Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75001
Caron : 90 Faubourg Saint-Honoré 75001
Guerlain : 68 avenue des Champs-Élysées 75008
Ladurée Champs-Élysées : 75 avenue des Champs-Élysées 75008
Nina Ricci : 39 avenue Montaigne 75008
Dior : 30 avenue Montaigne 75008

Edit, July 2012: Since I wrote this post, fabulous new multibrand niche shops have opened in Paris. Pending an updated itinerary, please click on the following links to Sens Unique and Jovoy.

Image: Tour Eiffel sticker at Amikado.

51 commentaires:

  1. This is wonderful information that has unfortunately come too late for me. :) Although I didn't have much left of my working trip to Paris, I was trying to locate some of these shops and this would have been really useful (I got lost more than once trying to find some of these stores having a map and walking around trying to find them). :) I had lots of fun though. Especially once I realized I've passing by Palais Royal all the time. :)

  2. Thank you!!!
    Indeed I'm planning my perfume pilgrimage for this summer, and your post is on perfect timinig!
    Though I think I can be perfectly fine with just a couple of addresses: those leading to les eaux boisées (and any of the bell jars, for what matters!!) and Vanille 44. And maybe to the hotel costes...maybe to Jar... and maybe.... well, let me print your post!
    Thank you!

  3. I think I love you. :^) Can you feel the waves of adoration coming from somewhere in the 4th circle of hell, wait, sorry, I mean, from Texas?

    Thanks for the morning pick-me-up!

    At this very moment I'm impatiently awaiting a friend's return from a Parisian honeymoon. I shamelessly sent her on a Serge Lutens errand--during. her. honeymoon. Her mission: bring me back Muscs Koublai Khan or don't bother coming back. I know, I'm mean like that.

  4. Wonderful post! You have me laughing here, we've certainly done that itinerary (though chopped up) together!
    Also, I think the Rive Droite Frédéric Malle is worth mentioniing, should you never get to the Rive Gauche.

  5. almost collapsed just by reading it! I think ideally one should have had at least some weeks in Paris just to absorb everything at leasure, between doing other things..
    Thank you so much!! this info will be in my pocket next time visiting!

  6. Copying and saving right now...

    Still can't believe I've never been to Paris (and after multiple trips to Europe, too). I'll be 40 in March. This must be rectified.

  7. P.S. I'm wearing Manoumalia right now, in our Texas heat and humidity and it is a whole different animal than it was in the winter. All the things I had trouble with then seem to have melted away. It is...right.

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  9. Ines, I'm sorry about that! Should I, perhaps, explain the access to the Palais Royal more clearly in the post, do you think?

  10. Zazie, email me when you know your dates... You do need to go to the Costes to smell the IUNX, if only because you won't find them anywhere else (and they don't ship).

  11. Aimée, love you back! I hope your honeymooning friend got a Serge for herself once she was there...

  12. K, definitely, I should include the Rive Droite Frédéric Malle... There isn't a place we haven't been to together, is there?

  13. Stella, this is really a punishing itinerary, for the feet, nose and wallet. But it had to be done!

  14. Alyssa, yes, you must come to Paris. I mean, on top of everything, it *is* Paris...
    Glad you love Manoumalia. I've been wearing it a lot too in the heat.

  15. I'm exhausted just reading the itinerary! And yet, ready to jump on a plane and meet up with you to run the gauntlet.

    Thanks for posting this, which I'm sure will become required reading for every Paris-bound perfumisto/a.

  16. Jarvis, I couldn't survive that itinerary myself! But we'll do some of it some day, won't we?

  17. In front of Colette, there is Jo Malone perfume shop, which is also a good place to smell perfumes :)

  18. Dear c, I don't think it's necessary. :) I think everyone except me was aware that you're supposed to enter the gardens and that they are public (I kept walking around the streets looking for the palace). :)
    Anyway, in the end I asked the guards stationed at the main entry where is the Palais Royal (guards were there because of some demonstration in front) and they told me how to go around and enter. When all else fails, ask for directions seems. :) If I has this, that would have made my search much easier, although I would have probably managed to spend more money (visiting more stores). :)

  19. Invaluable info, you are a superstar. Still not found the courage to come to Paris on a perfume mission but when I do, will be thanking you every step of the way.

  20. Méthanie, forgot Jo Malone! I guess I never go in, so it doesn't register... will add it.

  21. Ines, I get lost everywhere, I'm so absent-minded... Even places I've been to before! Yes, by all means, ask for directions (except that in that area, most people are clueless tourists!).

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  23. I will also add Maitre Parfumeur et Gantier, which has a shop on the right bank (5 bd des capucines), even if it is not close to the other shops you mentionned :) But they also have a shop on the left bank, so I am sure you will mention in your next "Pilgrimage"

  24. Méthanie, to me MPG has always been the rue de Grenelle shop... which I am planning to include in the Left Bank tour of course.

  25. Hi, D. Yes, I hope to be able to do it sooner rather than later!

  26. Brilliant list! Now the next step is - you need to organize the tour!

  27. Jarvis, you're expected! (tapping foot impatiently...)

  28. Rappleyea, oh dear, I'm not a one-woman Sniffapalooza... but who knows?

  29. Thank you so much for this posting! It is just on time for our trip. My companion is delighted by your descriptions as well. We are both looking forward to the Rive Gauche guide. As always, you are an marvelous source of information and a delight to read. Your blog never fails to bring a special thing to my day.


  30. Thank you, Erin: your comment on the Amoureuse review was what finally nudged me into doing this mini-guide in the first place.

  31. Hello,

    Long time reader, first time poster.
    I have just returned from a brief visit in Paris.I live in Holland, so it's not that far really. Your suggestions were very helpful! Especially the Merci shop. Unfortunately Nicolai was closesd ( August).
    But I got 3 bell jars from Lutens and a bottle of Eau du Fier from Goutal. The SA's in both shops were very friendly and helpful.

    Just to let you know that your hard word was appreciated. I also really like this blog, the fact that it's bilingual makes it extra special.

    A big thank you from the Netherlands!


  32. Barbara, I'm so glad! Too bad you missed the PdN (Rebecca is fantastic) but the Netherlands aren't so far, are they?

  33. Bonjour,
    je viens de rentrer d'une vacance en France, pendant laquelle j'ai fait un petit tour de perfumeries à Paris, bien sur! Je voulais partager la depaisante (et meme un peu inquietante!) experience que j'ai eu dans le seul lieu où, selon leur site, on peut trouver la Parfumerie Generale. Difficile à trouver, au fond d'une galerie sombre, deux vendeuses (?) que paraissaient totalment indifferentes a notre presence, la collection de parfums couverte de poussiere, pas de mouillettes pour les sentir et, infin, seulement quelque un d'eux à vendre, et en grand format....
    Je voulais bien sentir certains parfums qui on ne trouve pas en Italie et peut etre les acheter, mais le cadre etant si deconcertant, j'ai renoncè. Dommage que il n'y ait pas un lieu plus sympa et professional pour parfums si interessants.
    Perdonnez mon francais e la manque de accents! Chiara

  34. Chiara, je crois que vous devez parler de Task, le seul endroit à proposer Parfumerie Générale à Paris. Je n'y ai jamais mis les pieds car en effet, on m'a dit que la collection n'était pas complète et les vendeurs, pas très renseignés... Comme vous le dites, c'est dommage. Mais je pense qu'il doit être difficile (ou trop onéreux) pour une collection aussi vaste que celle de PG dans la section "niche" des grands magasins, qui seuls à Paris stockent les marques de niche n'ayant pas de magasin en propre.

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  36. I just wanted to say you are super awesome! I printed this out and managed to go to SL, Rosine, and Guerlain (as well as an accidental stop at Nicolai) in the tiny afternoon I was in Paris. I'm quite proud that I drove in Paris (being raised in Kenya helped), and while we were walking towards the perfume places, I kept checking your blogpost printout and exclaiming "she's so awesome! I love her!" :D

    So thank you so much. I recently joined the perfumista community (head first) and must say it was really a dream come true, having such fragrant conversations with the SAs who completely understood my passion. 'lets not even talk about how beautiful the places were - i felt like i was going to disneyland! So thank you, thank you, thank you. :)

  37. Had to add what I got! A bell jar of Boxeuses, poussiere de rose, rose praline, and guerlain Gourmand Coquin (who knew that that would be the exclusiv that steals my heart!)

  38. Melissa, so happy I contributed to an enjoyable visit in Paris... There are a couple of new venues now, I should really be updating!

  39. Looking forward to it - I'll be back in Paris around August/September. :D

  40. Thank you so much for this comprehensive list. I will be leaving for Paris this Friday for my first visit, and I am beyond excited! I had no idea where to start as far as finding special stores with special perfumes, your list has given me a great guide. Merci beaucoup!

  41. Carolyn, my very best wishes for an enjoyable and gorgeous-smelling visit!

  42. Hello again,

    I'm suggesting a group outing on Basenotes for my trip to Paris in September, and thought I'd ask you if you would like to join us if you are free on the day :)

    I don't have any details yet, but thought I'd ask :)

  43. Oh! Sorry, just realised my name doesn't show up. It's "Melissa/Zubi" from the comments above.

  44. Melissa, the second and third week of September will be pretty busy times with Pitti Fragranze and an event in Paris called Rives de la Beauté, but email me when you have your dates and I'm sure something can be worked out.

  45. i currently wear a French perfume by a company L'Aromarine that I buy home here in Australia - I haven't been able to find any information online about the company - any ideas on where they would be stocked in Paris as I'm going there in November ? Or any other recommendations on gourmandy perfumes, specifically rich vanillas? :)

  46. Buttons, I'm afraid I don't know any Aromarine retailers: I've never noticed the brand in Paris shops. For vanilla-rich scents you might want to look into Comptoir Sud Pacifique, they've got a counter at Le Printemps de la Beauté -- the store is definitely worth a visit for its lovely Scent Room.

  47. Exaltatum is a niche luxury perfume brand established in 2016 in London. We create unique perfumes with strong personalities and stories behind them.