“She smelled the way Taj Mahal looks at moonlight” Raymond Chandler
Frantic email: No time to pop into the perfume counter at Barneys, modern girl Chantal is off to Paris for a stopover before grabbing the TGV to Avignon. What scents to wear in Provence? She took a pass on Vogue’s list of summer scents: the usual suspects and a suspect new celeb perfume.
With a day in Paris before catching the TGV south, Chantal discovers a GPS-less perfume route: the No. 1 Line on the Paris Metro runs from La Defense down the Champs Elysees on the right bank to the Gare de Lyon where the TGV leaves for the Midi. The No 1 Line is equivalent in social status to the No. 6 Line in Manhattan. Trivia: When the Paris Metro is hit with a strike, the No.1 Line’s service seems to be the least interrupted.
A quick hop from various No. 1 line stops, she can choose graceful fragrances for a summer in Provence. Voila four stops, four shops, four fragrances, and four mis-en-parfum scenes for Chantal to make.
Un Jardin en Méditerranée, Hermès 24, faubourg Saint Honoré, 75008 Paris
Grand merci to Chandler Burr, New York Times perfume columnist and all around fragrance maven who opines that this scent is “extraordinary, atomized summer.” “Fresh” is the appropriate adjective that comes to his mind for an “exquisitely free scent” designed by Jean Claude Ellena. Notes of mandarin oranges, bergamot, oleander, fig trees and pink cedars.
Where to wear: The Arles Photography Festival Awards Ceremony and the rock star photos of Claude Gassian, July 10, Theatres Antique, Arles; Dining at L’Atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel, Arles.
Metro Concorde or Tuleries
En Passant, Editions de Parfums Frederic Malle; Created by Olivia Giacobetti 21, rue Mont Thabor, 75001 Paris
A magical lilac. An ineffably gorgeous scent, confidant in its pureness. The sensation of floating above a garden of lilacs with hints of orange tree leaves, cucumber and wheat. Luxurious serenity.
Where to wear: Don Giovanni, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Théâtre de l’Archevêché, Aix-en-Provence Festival of Lyrical Arts; dinner at Le Clos de la Violette, Aix-en-Provence.
Metro Palais Royal
Encens et Lavande, Serge Lutens, Jardins du Palais Royal, 142 Galerie de Valois, 75001 Paris
An elegant lavender. Notes of incense, lavender, vegetal amber and clary sage. A smoky incense mingles with fresh lavender, followed by flourishes of amber and a sage drydown. Images of washed out stone walls of Avignon and glorious fields of lavender in full bloom. This fragrance is available only in Paris salon. And yes, it gets the slightest of nods over the Gris Clair imported to the states.
Where to wear: Creation 2010,choreographed by Anna Teresa de Keersmaeker, at Avignon Festival; Dinner at La Mirande, Avignon.
Sensual jasmine. A zesty fragrance of aromatic herbs. Notes of jasmine, marojam, peppermint leaves, grapefruit and clementine. “This fragrance conjures up images of mysterious and legendary gardens,” goes the official prose. “When a dreamy young marjoram and a sensual jasmine sambac fall in love with a few fresh pepper mint leaves, the concoction turns into a wonderful dream.” Joined by a bewildering sage and a vibrant clementine, the scent becomes a miraculous magical formula.
Where to Wear: Arielle Dombasle’s Glam Show at the Lacoste Festival; dinner under the stars at Le Phébus, Joucas.
Chandler Burr: www.chandlerburr.com/
Frederic Malle: www.editionsdeparfums.com/
Serge Lutens: www.sergelutens.com
The Different Company: www.thedifferentcompany.com