Paris is the capital of the perfume industry, so it’s not surprising that so many classic fragrances have a French accent to them. Paris has also played muse to many fragrance creators who live in and love this city, and who have often attempted to capture some facet of this beguiling place within their formulations. The following picks are ideal whether you want an olfactory Parisian souvenir, or something to help you feel a little more à la Parisienne with a single spritz.
Laura Mercier L’Heure Magique
L’heure magique is that celebrated time, just before sunset, when Paris seems to be drenched in a syrupy, golden glow.
This warm and luscious fragrance, with its notes of jasmine, geranium, spices and musk, captures that magic hour perfectly. It also has a gorgeous sweetness to it that hints at the gourmand category of fragrance (those perfumes that blend in such notes as vanilla, chocolate and honey, a trend kick-started by Thierry Mugler’s Angel), and makes you think of a sunset picnic of macarons and éclairs by the Seine. What’s not to love about that?
Guerlain L’Heure Bleue
This classic of all classic fragrances, dating from 1912, honours that other wonderful Parisian time of day: twilight.
To bottle up the misty moodiness of the crepuscular blue light, Jacques Guerlain concocted a perfume with a vaprorous, powdery sparkle that melts into a seductive muskiness. Its potent sillage trails along with you well into the afterdark.
Yves Saint Laurent Paris
Parisiennes have been associated with the rose since Empress Joséphine cultivated hundreds of varities out at Château de Malmaison. It seems a perfect match. The rose is classic yet seductive, feminine with a hidden strength, and elegant in all phases of life, from dewy bud through to full-blown languor.
So it’s little wonder that the perfume most famously inspired by Paris is basically an olfactory bouquet of roses? Word of warning: this is also very much a 1980s perfume, so a little goes a long way.
Bvlgari Eau Parfumée au Thé Vert
Legendary perfumer Jean-Claude Ellena had a eureka moment one day, while sipping Japanese green tea at the famous Parisian salon de thé Mariage Frères.
A whirl of bergamot, coriander, cardamom, orange blossom, jasmine and green tea, this fresh unisex scent was edgy when released, in 1992, but is now a beauty classic.
Hermès Un Jardin sur le Toit
When Monsieur Ellena later found himself the in-house perfumer for Hermès, he found fertile ground for inspiration up in the secret garden perched upont the rooftop of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré headquarters.
Amid the pear, apple and magnolia trees, he conjured up this delightful summer-garden-party of a fragrance.