samedi 4 juillet 2009

Paris Perfume Pilgrimage, Part II: The Left Bank

Get off at the Sèvres-Babylone station and you’ll find Le Bon Marché, the Left Bank department store: smaller, less crowded and more up-market than the Right Bank emporiums… The larger niche brands have counters here – Serge Lutens, L’Artisan, Goutal, Tom Ford… At the By Kilian counter, you can tell the S.A., Damien, I sent you: not only will he pull out the secret testers, but he’ll be able to tell you what’s new on the floor, and is likely to dash off to bring you a scent strip! The Miller Harris counter sells Coeur de Peau, a Bon Marché exclusive featuring bergamot, lavender, nutmeg, tonka bean and musk.

There’s a “niche wall” on the left-hand side of the ground floor when you’ve got your back to the main entrance with Byredo, Parfums d’Empire, Parfums DelRae… This is the only point of sale of Attache-moi, the fragrance designed for the trendy magazine Iconofly.

While you’re at it, poke a head into La Grande Épicerie de Paris next door: it’s pure foodie porn.

When you get out of Le Bon Marché, go back to the metro entrance and cross the little park (square Velpeau) that’s right behind it towards the boulevard Raspail. Take it, heading towards the Seine: on the right sidewalk, you’ll pass a large L’Artisan Parfumeur shop.

When you reach the rue de Grenelle, head towards your left and walk a couple of blocks to Parfums de Nicolaï, run by the incredibly knowledgeable Rebecca Veuillet-Gallot, the author of Le Guide du Parfum (please note she’s off on Tuesdays and the shops shuts down during the lunch hour).

Now double back towards the boulevard Raspail, staying on the rue de Grenelle: cross it to reach Frédéric Malle and their highly trained staff (most S.A.s are ISIPCA graduates). For what it’s worth, just across the sidewalk, have a look at the heartbreakingly lovely Christian Louboutins… In fact, all of the rue de Grenelle is pure shoe porn.

On your right-hand side, you’ll come across the rue des Saint-Pères: this is where you’ll have to make a decision.

If you take it, there’s a tiny shop for Memo, a niche brand I haven’t had time to explore yet and further down, another tiny L’Artisan. On the corner with the Boulevard Saint-Germain, you’ll find the Sonia Rykiel flagship store on the right, with her range of fragrances, candles and scented incense sticks.

If you decide to continue on the rue de Grenelle, you’ll need to cross the rue du Dragon to reach the rue du Four, which goes up on your left: there you’ll find the costume jewelry shop Réminiscence, originally a perfume brand founded in the early 70s, and just across the street, their competitor Les Néreïdes where you can load up on post-hippie patch and musk…

There’s an Annick Goutal shop nearby: to get to it, take the rue Bonaparte to your right until you hit the place Saint-Sulpice (you can’t miss it: there’ll be a huge baroque church to your left). Take a right and you’ll find the Goutal.

If you’re at all interested in scented candles, you need to check out the oldest candle-maker in France, Cire Trudon: apart from a simpler, less expensive line of candles, they sell a super-luxury line whose scents are built like classic fragrances, with top, heart and base notes. To reach it, when you come out of the Goutal shop, take to your right and follow the rue Saint-Sulpice until you hit the rue de Seine, then go to your right. It’s just around the corner.

Now take the rue de Seine towards the boulevard Saint-Germain. On Saint-Germain, turn to the right. Once you get to the level of the metro Odéon, cross the boulevard and follow the rue Mazarine just opposite up to the corner of the rue Guénégaud: you’ll find Aépure, Paris’s sole multi-brand niche cosmetics and perfumery shop. Loads of Italian niche brands – Nasomatto, Profumum, Lorenzo Villoresi – as well as Juliette Has a Gun, By Killian, Lost March and… tah-dah! Parfumerie Générale – the owner, François de Groussouvre, hopes to convince Pierre Guillaume to put his private blends on sale there some day…

Added November 6th 2009: It seems the Aépure boutique has closed down...

If you’re not absolutely shattered by now, you can go back to the boulevard Saint-Germain and kept walking eastwards… or take the metro at Odéon, line 10, direction Gare d’Austerlitz and get off at Maubert-Mutualité. Continue walking towards the east on the boulevard Saint-Germain and you’ll reach Diptyque’s first-ever store, opened in 1961.

A few more addresses on the Right Bank…

When you’re wandering around the Marais, Paris’s medieval/gay/Jewish district, you won’t want to miss the État Libre d’Orange shop. It’s a little trek from the metro Hôtel de Ville: when you’re on the rue de Rivoli, go eastwards and you’ll come across the rue des Archives, take a left: it’s about seven blocks from there, on the corner of the rue Pastourelle.

Time for another visit? Go all the way back to the rue de Rivoli but don’t cross it. Go to the left and walk six blocks until you reach the tiny rue Ferdinand-Duval: take a left and you’ll find The Different Company’s sole Paris stand-alone shop…

If you’re really into Annick Goutal, you might not want to miss Merci, a charity/concept multi-brand store founded by Annick’s sister Marie-France Cohen: Passion, L’Eau du Sud, L’Heure Exquise, L’Eau de Camille and L’Eau de Charlotte are sold in plain lab bottles: 22 € for 25ml, 39€ for 50ml, 59€ for 100ml and 119€ for 200ml. If you bring in your own bottle to fill, it’s even cheaper. The store also offers exclusive re-editions of four discontinued Goutal candles: Dans les Foins (hay), Mes Nuits d’été (fig tree), Chine Impériale (smoky tea) and Corsé (spicy), at 29€ for a 175-gram candle in a glass, and 19€ for a refill. But I’d recommend you take the metro: if you’re on the rue de Rivoli coming from TDF, walk a bit towards the east, hop into the metro Saint-Paul (direction Château de Vincennes) and change at Bastille, line 8, direction Balard. Get off at Saint-Sébastien Froissart.

Good news: this is where you can eat. Merci has a great (and affordable) canteen downstairs with appetizing, often organic food, a tempting salad bar, tempting desserts… and totally vegetarian-friendly. Open from 12 to 4 PM.

Tuck in, you’ve deserved it…


Le Bon Marché: 24 rue de Sèvres 75007

L’Artisan Parfumeur : 24 boulevard Raspail 75007 and 50 rue des Saints-Pères 75007

Parfums de Nicolaï : 80 rue de Grenelle 75007

Frédéric Malle : 37 rue de Grenelle 75007

Memo : 60 rue des Saints-Pères 75007

Sonia Rykiel : 194 boulevard Saint-Germain 75007

Réminiscence : 22 rue du Four 75006

Les Néréïdes : 23 rue du Four 75006 and 5 rue du Bourg l’Abbé 75003

Annick Goutal : 12 Place Saint-Sulpice 75006

Cires Trudon : 78 rue de Seine 75006

Aépure : 35 rue Guénégaud 75006

Diptyque : 34 boulevard Saint-Germain 75005

État Libre d’Orange : 69 rue des Archives 75003

The Different Company : 10 rue Ferdinand Duval 75004

Merci: 111 boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003

Image: Singer Juliette Gréco photographed by Robert Doisneau

39 commentaires:

  1. MPG rue de Grenelle is closed. There is now only one shop 5, rue des Capucines.

  2. How many pairs of Louboutin will survive all this ? :o) Méchant Loup.

  3. Thierry... Oops. Info is now deleted. They really should update their website at MPG...

  4. Méchant Loup: the Louboutins stay in the box. They're really only meant for horizontal use anyway. Otherwise, how would a girl keep the pretty red soles clean?

  5. Obviously ! With a touch of Velvet Gardenia ?

  6. How did you guess that was what I was wearing today?

  7. Sigh. I never made it to any of these Left Bank stores on my last trip... Next time!

  8. Jarvis, lots of those things you can find on the Rive Droite, but still, it's a whole different vibe Rive Gauche...

  9. and therie is Memo , a shop near st germain des présn rue des saint-pères...

  10. Sophie, I did mention it if you look carefully, I just forgot to put in the link!

  11. Merci beaucoup Denyse pour cet adorable commentaire et la pub pour mon petit guide.

  12. Wonderful! And I do want to visit Merci, if only because it seems to be all about the juice, and the owner's idiosyncratic love of the line.

    Now. When can we look forward to your mini-guides on food and fashion? If I were your publisher I'd have you on the phone this minute to do a whole pocket series...

  13. Alyssa, well, Annick Goutal *was* her sister... Merci has tons of other stuff on offer.
    As for other guides... I've been pretty much living on my clothing reserves for a few years and really wouldn't know where to shop! And I'm trying to keep myself and food shops apart for the good of waistline and pocketbook. My flatmate does the shopping!

  14. Ha! Louboutins are indeed for horizontal use only. And definately not to be worn for a pilgrimage such as this. I love this guide, thanks so much!

    I'm just going to have to do this pilgrimage soon, because my honeymooning friend did NOT get the Lutens shop for me while she was in Paris -- traitresse!

  15. Aimée, that is *low*... But I read that MKK would be the next limited edition export. Not that I don't want you to come to Paris, au contraire!

  16. My Paris plans for August were thwarted, alas...but I am getting a peculiar voyeuristic pleasure from your posts...thank you! :)

  17. ScentScelf -- so sorry about that! But it'll be some other time and this will hopefully come in handy...

  18. Thanks again for this series--it is good to think that my earlier inquiry helped to prompt these wonderful posts! And how did you know I am a vegetarian? ;-) Merci sounds like it will be perfect!

    I really must de-lurk more, it gets such marvelous results...

  19. Daseined, I'm glad you delurked and glad your question gave me the needed nudge.
    I couldn't guess you were a vegetarian. I'm not, but several of my American perfumista friends are, including Tara with whom I went to Merci - it's often hard to get a nice vegeterian meal in Paris, and we were very glad to find the canteen.

  20. What a gift to find the perfect "perfumista tour of Paris" in your blog. Now, how to get to Paris, that's going to be the tough part....
    Thank you!

  21. Well, I clearly need to go back again, as I missed the niche wall in Bon Marche and a number of these small boutiques on the left bank, though I did find the Annick Goutal, Aepure and the FM shop with the perspex scent tunnels. This walking guide will be invaluable next time, for sure!

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  23. Floriental Girl, I'd still say you got the main spots, except for the Nicolaï which I truly recommend.

  24. I'm weeping for Paris, weeping...

  25. arrgghhhh I have to come to Paris, this is getting silly. I want to try that Miller Harris so badly. I haven't been for about a year- but I think it's like dog years for perfumistas and a month feels like it counts for a year.

  26. Rose, I'd send you a samp but the Miller Harris counter doesn't have any, which is why I never review Coeur de Peau. :-(

  27. I just wanted to thank you so much for these suggested itineries, so comprehensive. My perfume friend, Silvia, and I have been thinking of a trip to Paris for some time but money and time have been against us, certainly this year. I acquired a Paris Moleskine (I do love Moleskines!) which has a decent street map section and tracing paper which can be used for the routes. And now you've taken the hard work out of planning those routes - so thanks again. donanicola

  28. Nicola, I do hope you and Silvia make it to Paris some time and I get to meet you both. I'm also hoping to make it to London in the near (or not too distant) future...

  29. Denyse I would love to meet you when you come to London. I was sorry not to be able to attend your course but work has a nasty habit of getting in the way sometimes. Mustn't complain if it pays for the pleasure though. If you have some spare time perhaps in the evening, Silvia and I could meet you for a glass or two? Shall I drop you a line via email? Nicola

  30. Nicola, I'm still waiting for confirmation that we have enough registrations for the course to go ahead. The recession might get in the way, I'm afraid. But I'll definitely make it to London at some point, if some other projects work out. By all means, drop me a line.

  31. hmm no samples is a bit silly really isn't it!

  32. The Marais is technically on the Right Bank so it seems like the ELd'O and The Different Company shops should be placed instead in your Right Bank List.

    Also, in the lingerie section of Le Bon Marche on the 1st floor, there is a niche perfume area that carries Caron urn pefumes and The Different Company line.

    Last of all, in most of those free Galleries Lafayette and Printemps tourist maps, there is a coupon for 10% off - which can be used multiple times. Printemps has an especially good niche perfume area.

  33. Anonymous: The Marais/Bastille area is indeed on the Right Bank but one practically never visits it at the same time as the Champs Elysées, Grands Magasins or Place Vendôme are (and kudos to anyone who can take it all in on the same day). The Eastern Rive Droite would actually deserve a separate entry.

    Le Bon Marché doesn't carry TDF any more, but it can be found at Le Printemps (in the Scent Room). The Galeries Lafayette have quite a good niche section now too.

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