jeudi 3 novembre 2011

New Paris Perfume Destination: Sens Unique

This is where you’ll find all three of Pierre Guillaume’s lines, Parfumerie Générale, Huitième Art and Phaedon (which he produces). Alongside Parfums MDCI, Amouage, État Libre d’Orange, Honoré des Prés and By Kilian, this is where you can stick your nose into hard-to-source lines like Christophe Laudamiel’s oddball Humiecki and Graef, the 100% organic Undergreen, the quirky-poetic Libertin Louison and the brand-new hot niche brand Olfactive Studio.
But above all, you will be greeted impeccably by two lovely young Russian hipster ladies, Renata and Svetlana, who can segue smoothly from French to English to tell you the stories behind the scents.
As an added bonus, as you spend hours browsing Sens Unique’s wide selection, you might see the genial owner of MDCI, Claude Marchal, popping in with new stock and have a chat; Louison Libertin, the young Belgian fashion designer-turned-perfumer, is apt to turn up as well. And last week, the thoroughly engaging and handsome Pierre Guillaume spent hours with journalists, bloggers and assorted enthusiasts chatting about perfume and testing an accord he’s working on…
Better still: if the shop is humming and the conversation going stong, Renata and Svetlana think nothing of keeping the shop open way past the usual hours: the Marais, which is the gay quarter of Paris, is full of cafés and bars and therefore evening customers…
Getting there is easy: take the metro, Line 1 (La Défense-Château de Vincennes), get off at Métro Saint-Paul, cross the rue de Rivoli straight into the rue Pavée just opposite, then a left on the rue du Roi de Sicile, walk a couple of blocks and you’re in for some serious sniffing.

(OK, if this sounds too much like a fluff piece, let's just say it's such a pleasure to find a multi-brand niche store in Paris, where they'd gotten so scarce, that one has simply got to gush... More soon on two other wonderful shops.)

Sens Unique
13 rue du Roi de Sicile
75004 Paris (Métro Saint-Paul)
T. + 33 1 71 50 30 09
Open every day from 1 P.M. to 9 P.M.

16 commentaires:

  1. Sens Unique sounds absolutely lovely!
    I hope my wish to visit Paris next spring will come true and I'll be going there definitely! :)

  2. Ines, be sure to reach out to me if you do come to Paris (I haven't forgotten my invitation!) and, yes, Sens Unique is definitely one of the many wonderful perfume shops to visit here.

  3. Thank you! :) Will do.

    There are now some cheap flights from Zagreb so I really have no excuse not to organize a few days in Paris for myself (and hopefully my boyfriend or anyone who'd like to come with me).

    I miss Paris. :(

  4. Thank you for this enticing mention of Sens Unique, I wasn't (yet) familiar with this shop. Since I just booked a short Paris-fix for the beginning of December, I shall be eagerly awaiting the promised follow-ups:-) Oh tidings of comfort and joy...

  5. Asali, Sens Unique is quite recent which is why it's still not on the radar outside of Paris (though clearly it's part of the Russians' Paris perfume paths).

  6. I think it's wonderful to have a shop that's run by people who really care about the products sold, and have a passion for what they do. I'm jealous!!
    (But do keep telling us about such places, they deserve good words.)
    "Spaseeba Bolshoi!" to Renata and Svetlana.

  7. Marla, I'd say that this is the case not only for Sens Unique, but for Jovoy and Marie-Antoinette, which I will do write-ups on next, as well as several own-brand niche stores here in Paris - I've met knowledgeable people at Frédéric Malle and Annick Goutal boutiques as well, and at Le Bon Marché, Rebecca Veuillet-Gallot from By Kilian is even more than that.

  8. Thanks to your recommendation, I spent a delightful afternoon at Sens Unique today, takin occasional breaks for wine around the corner to wait for the perfume to settle down. The shopkeeper (I forgot to ask her name) was so knowledgeable about her inventory, not just the notes but the stories behind the perfumes. And she wasn't just reciting marketing material, either-- she knows all the perfumers personally so she really knows what's up. She also has a very poetic way of describing perfume that readers of perfume criticism will really appreciate.

    But best of all, she had a wonderfully casual demeanor and didn't hover or blink an eye as I slowly sniffed my way through literally every fragrance in her shop (more than 150). Good thing, because I walked away with a perfume that brought tears of joy to my eyes (PG Jardins de Kerylos) yet was not at all what I had been looking for. In another store with a more intimidating or pushier sales assistant, I doubt I would have found it.

  9. Clace, that must have been Svetlana, she was in today -- and I don't know when you came, but you might have just missed me, since I was in around five or six and spent a while chatting with her. I'd just been with a friend who had also had a lovely experience there, and frankly, I've heard nothing but great things so far about the two Sens Unique ladies.

  10. this sounds like a delightful place, are you adding it to your paris-perfume-right-bank-tour? (I remember printing it out and following it more or less faithfully two years ago, O.K. I cheated when my feet got sore)?
    In any case: have to go back! maybe a christmas shopping spree, hmmm.
    thanks for the tip, Bee

  11. Bee, I think this could be part of a new itinerary in the Marais. I haven't had the time to walk it out yet so I could write it...

  12. I wish I had known about it two weeks ago when I was in Paris for a conference! I guess I'll have to wait for the next one.

    Denyse, will your book be published in the US as well?

  13. Fernando, what a pity! I simply haven't had time to update...
    As for my book, it's a UK edition but will be available on Amazon. The US rights haven't been negotiated yet.

  14. As if I needed any more reasons to visit you and Paris! Sounds wonderful and just the sort of place I dream of working in myself. Hope you're well D!

  15. Nicola, no, actually you don't need any more reasons, but this tops it off!