Started today early because I wanted to get a lot done on my last day in Paris. Made it to Planet Rasoir right after they opened and I will tell you that it is nirvana for any of you wetshaving afficionados. I picked up Martin de Candre shaving soap and Fougere bar soap for a friend of mine and some Chamomile preshave oil for myself.
Then it was time to explore Jovoy (pronounced Jo-vwah). The place is amazing – an absolutely stunning layout of independent and niche perfumes. There were several lines that I had never seen before- Brecourt Paris (Ambre Noir and Hasam were favorites), LM Parfums (Sensual Orchid and Ambre Muscadin were full-bottle purchases after skintesting them all day yesterday), the full M Micallef collection (I splurged on Art Collection 101 – the peace sign, though it was hard to choose between that and Watch), and many others. I picked up two copies of The Perfume Lover by Denyse Beaulieu (more about her below). If you are planning to visit Paris as a perfume lover – I strongly recommend that you set aside one day for Jovoy and one day for Sens Unique – both have SO MANY amazing fragrances that will you will want to digest them one day at a time.
I took a break from Jovoy and ran around the Honore/Castiglione area ending up at Hotel Costes I had the honor of meeting and talking to Ronald, who is called by some the “perfume nazi” – because he is the one who handles the testers. My favorite quotes of his were “you’re not at Sephora” and for the Brits “you’re not at f*king Boots.” He has a witty sense of humor and is a complete charmer. Though we disagree on the use of scent, he feels it should be kept close to you so people have to be near you to smell it, while I like scents that scream and project for when I DJ, he and I chatted for a good bit. He let it slip that there will be a new IUNX fragrance coming by the end of the year. He also answered my question about how the magic flower work (they are motion-activated by lasers). As I said last year, they are the coolest fragrance testing devices I have ever seen (giving the Frederic Malle scent towers a run for the money).
A proud moment came when I walked into a bar/restaurant, ordered lunch in French and maintained it all the way through. Normally when I speak French to someone, they reply in English. Yes, I know I am a dumb American but if I am really trying, at least play along until we reach an impasse. That jambon et fromage sandwich tasted even better than expected. Another highlight was when I was stopped by another tourist asking if I spoke English and could help them find the metro stop (and I did). Of course, I kept my hand in my pocket on my wallet since I know these kind of distractions are often used by pickpockets to divert your attention.
Next up was Comme Des Garcons where I met the lovely Denyse Beaulieu. She showed me some of the CdG fragrances. such as the synthetic series, which I had never experienced. Wow, those are interesting. Note to English speakers who talk to French perfume people in English, they love the word interesting. Denyse and I had a lovely chat over coffee. The French version of her book is coming out soon and it will be released in the US in March. Talking with her, I noticed that fragrance blogging is at the same point that EDM (electronic dance music) blogging was back in 2003. Follow me on this; I started at dancemusic.about.com in 2003 and it constantly frustrated me that publicists, record labels, and promoters just didn’t take the web seriously. It was always about print (magazine and newspaper). As print press decreased in importance and the internet took over, I noticed that every year websites and blogs gradually got more promotional attention. In the fragrance world, there still seems to be a bias that print is way more relevant and real than blogs. Denyse said something quite profound “Blogs are a publication medium, not a genre.” I think in France, writers still cling to print as majorly important – and of course it is. Yet, I would tell every print writer to build a web presence, if only to act as an archive for their “printed” stories, because once the magazine/newspaper hits the recycle bin, there is no longer a hard copy of their precious writing.
After the glorious chat with Denyse, I headed back to Jovoy and decided on my purchases – M Micallef Art Collection 101, Jovoy Psychedelique and Private Label (I got both of these last years and have just about emptied them – can’t wait until they get US distribution), LM Parfums Sensual Orchid, LM Ambre Muscadin and some nice samples. I really like MDCI Chypre Paladin but the price makes me gun-shy.
I found Guerlain on Rue Castiglione and smelled their new city – Shanghai (really nice, but I am still partial to Moscou), Le Bolshoi (really pretty but not right for me), and Mon Precious Nectar (see previous – though I don’t think this is a new release). Next up were the Arabian trio Rose Nacre, Encens Mythique, and Songe d’un Bois d’Ete – all three are really nice yet really familiar/similar to scents I already have in my collection. The bottles are gorgeous though.
Continuing on, I ended up in the Vendome and stopped by Swatch again. They had just got the Dodecahedron Collision in, and it’s every bit as amazing as I thought it would be. The packaging is a massive, clear acrylic pyramid. I was so tempted to buy it to have a “backup” but then I realized that I have one on order through the Orlando store and that getting it in my overstuffed luggage (or as a carryon) would be a nightmare. Then came a bunch of high-end designer clothing stores and while those patterned pants and dual-colored corduroy jeans at Kenzo were amazing – no one can see how cool my pants are while I am DJing, and for 280-320 euros, they were a bit too high for comfort. Missoni had some really cute sweaters but sticker shock and practicality (I don’t wear sweaters much in the winter) made them a pass.
Jumping on the metro, I went to the Champs-Elysees for a nice walk. I stopped at the legendary Guerlain, but with the massive construction it seemed awkward. It should be ready for a relaunch quite soon. The massive Sephora next door might as well have been a Guerlain boutique with the front half being all Guerlain. Finally, I found A*men Leather (or Pure Cuir), and it’s obnoxious on the front end and smooth on the back end- just what you would expect from a Pure Flanker. To all you A*Men junkies – both Pure Malt and Pure Havane are stocked throughout Paris stores.
This marks the end of the Paris leg of my trip – I am off to London in the morning where I look forward to visiting the Amouage boutique, Fortnum & Mason (will I splurge on Xerjoff Oud Stars Alexandria?), the top floor of Harrods, and a hopeful meeting with a perfumer that I am excited about.
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