Thursday, 31 October 2013

Les Grandes Dames

One of the things I was most excited about when I planned this trip to Paris was a visit to Guerlain's boutique on the Champs Elysees.  I had seen the photos and had no difficulty to imagine spending a lot of time there, smelling and trying all of their wonderful creations. I had also set aside a bit of my spending money in order to purchase whatever scent I would fall in love with. So on this wonderful sunny autumn day I stepped out of the Metro and walked along the Champs Elysees, which has lost about 110% of the charm it most probably had before the arrival of the Multinationals. And there it was, the lovely, inspiring, closed due to refurbishment until the end of November Guerlain store:

Yeah, that was a bit shit. 

While I perfectly understand that a grand dame has some work done from time to time I was 
really unhappy with her timing. To overcome that shock I went into the gigantic Sephora next door and sniffed all the Guerlains they had (quite a few, actually). So instead of being surrounded by style and timeless elegance I found myself perched between gift boxes, sweaty teenagers from all over the world and remarkably calm and friendly sales assistants. 

When I came out I was a bit at a loss, but decided to make the best of the lovely day and just walk. A lot. In fact I walked all the way down to Rue Faubourg St. Honore. My new goal was the Hermes store on Rue FStH. I wanted to try Jean Claude Ellena's creations for Hermes and hoped to profit from the brand's well known generosity when it comes to samples. The shop was  busy, but no one was manning the perfume section so I helped myself with the testers. I tried  Iris Ukiyoe, Paprika Brasil, Vetiver Tonka, Rose Ikebana, Poivre Samarcande and Osmanthe Yunnan. The Iris didn't work on me at all and neither did the rose and the Osmanthe. But the more 'manly' ones I really liked a lot, namely the Vetiver and the Poivre. When the SA arrived to offer some help I managed to ask for a sample in proper French and with my biggest smile. It worked. Most chuffed I decided to walk along further and make it the afternoon of the big names. Chanel was next, and although I have already tried all the Exclusives I tried my favourites again : La Pausa (Irises are my new obsession) and the wonderful 31 Rue Cambon which would be my all time favourite perfume ever if it stayed longer than half an hour.  

Then there was the Dior, and although I love some of the men's scents I don't have Dior on my radar much. I had a go at heir newest Exclusive offering , Gris Montaigne. I It's an elegant, understated scent. But it's not a 250 Euro per bottle kind of scent, sorry. 

I know it is impossible to put a realistic price tag on perfumes or any luxury item, because the highest price you can get away with is seems like the right one, but sometimes I just find it all a bit silly.

And last, but not least there is the Jean Patou boutique. They don't have many scents on display, and have to take on the ones which also have been bought by the Watford based owners. There is a new Joy. Joy Forever, and its a  chypre and I think it was nice, but my nose and me were tired by that time. The lovely lady in the shop complemented me on my French which is a total winner for me and my subjonctif meddled up mind, and  I think she was honestly sorry that she had run out of samples for the Forever. Thus ended my big names afternoon. After a disappointing  start it had actually turned into a lovely experience and a good French lesson. 

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