Sunday, 27 October 2013

A most pleasant Saturday afternoon

The times when going shopping in Paris was an affordable past time for Brits are long long gone. These days it's not just the exchange rate that's less than brilliant, Paris has just completely and formidably overtaken London in terms of prices. A simple croque monsieur can now send you back 15 Euros, and you still get a funny look when you dare to ask to have ketchup with it. 
My 2 week trip to Paris will therefore cost an arm and a leg and then some, but c'est la vie. Window licking is not a bad past time either and Paris is undoubtedly great for that, because nobody does luxury quite so sophisticated than the French.


In order to get to the perfume places I had on my list I passed so many lovely shoes, bags, paintings, scarves, coats and dresses that I have dressed myself   imaginary five times over. The good thing about being a perfumista rather than a fashionista is that perfume does actually cost roughly the same everywhere and is, at least compared to the latest Maison Martin Margiela coat or Pierre Hardy stiletto, an affordable passion. 
While I'm typing this wafts of perfume are gently floating around me, I have spend 3 hours having fun and not a Euro (on fragrance, coffee and eclairs don't count). 
Today I went to Jovoy, a funny place called Astier de Vilatte and the Serge Lutens boutique in the Palais Royal. 
The three can be easily combined with a stroll along Rue St. Honore and there are worse places to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Jovoy is simply a marvel. A dark walled but still airy interior, lots of space, armchairs for resting and polite and discreet sales assistants who offer coffee and advice, but let you totally in peace if you want to just wander around and sniff. Which is what I did.

My first stop was the selection of MDCI parfums. I sampled them all and my favourite five were: Chypre Palatin (Wow), Vespres Sicilienne, La Belle Helene, Ambre Topkapi and Invasion Barbare. Those 5 will be my choice for the coffret sample set which I hope to order and receive while I'm still here in Paris. 
After that I tried Ramon Monegal Mon Cuir, and Undina was absolutely right to recommend that for my Iris quest. It's wonderful. 
Then I couldn't resist a brand called VanessaTugendhaft. Her perfumes weren't quite so virtuous, and my favourite was Or Jaune, a slightly rosey floral with some spritz to it.
My nose got seriously weak after that and I decided to take a break and come back another day, but before I left the SA recommended Perfume d'Empire's Cuir Ottoman as another leather Iris, and he also mentioned that they will go up in price soon because of a re-design, so PdE fans should stock up. I probably will too, because I tested it on skin and it's a good contender with some powerful sillage and standing. 
Out I went (didn't dare asking for samples, that's the downside of this trying to speak French malarky: it makes me even more clumsy when asking for them. The French word alone is a tongue breaker). Next stop around the corner and approximately 3456 shoe shops later on Rue St. Honore is Astier de Villatte. Apparently it is known. Well, it wasn't to me, and it's the sort of shop that makes me slightly grumpy, so without a perfume agenda I would never have set foot in it. If you are the sort of person who goes on ebay or has a wander around car boot sales and the like, you will have heard of 'shabby chic'. Shabby chic makes me stabby, because its basically just any tat painted with a chalky finish which is then brushed off again to give it a 'distressed' look. Astier sells that. A lot of it. The shop is so distressed it makes me weep. Everything from the floor to the walls, the 'authentic' dirty sink in one corner to the worn out hand knitted lines they use to prevent customers to enter the upper floor is so artfully old and broken that you might think you do your bit for charity when you buy some of their overpriced tat. I was glad that I had left M. at home. He would have hated every crooked inch of it. 
I only came for the perfume. Not their own range, but the Odeur de Saintete fragrances, which I had first seen the day before in another  'cult' shop, Merci in the Marais.
I love everything about this range. The name, the quirky bottles with the rosary type chain and the name of the perfume on a little cloth label. And the scents of course. What smells!
More about those then tomorrow, time is running out.


  1. Wait a minute... Either it wasn't Mon Cuir or it wasn't I who recommended it. First of all, Mon Cuir has no iris in it. And second, it didn't work for me. What I could (and probably did) recommend was Impossible Iris.

    Thank you for the heads up on PdE: I wanted to get Ambre Russe for a while now so I should probably hurry up.

    1. What a confusion. Sorry, Undina, I got a bit mixed up. I definitely tried the Mon Cuir and according to the nice SA (and my nose) it has Iris in it. That's why I thought it was the one you had recommended. I will try the Impossible Iris when I go back there this week.