than the scent someone offers as they lean in
to grace you with a kiss?
We have France to thank for that particular gift.
France -- where rampant effort and cold sober skill go into
the art of making the world a sweeter, more lovable place.
It's the ultimate temple of fragrance,
a historic treasury of all things exquisitely scented.
And of course, Paris is the altar we adore, headmaster of the splendid nose.
We dream about that walk down the Champs-Elysées
where we discover the timeless essence that calls our name.
Finding the perfect perfume is much like stumbling on
a beautiful painting in the Musée D'Orsay.
The spell is cast and you're not quite the same person you were yesterday.
A good perfume doesn't just happen by accident.
The cult of French fragrance is a long and fascinating road.
It begins in the south, in the little town of Grasse,
historic capitol to the world of perfume.
"A woman should wear fragrance wherever she expects to be kissed"
Grasse represents the region well, its ancient streets filled with
the promise of delicately flowered arches and towering palms.
It's a fun town, easy to visit -- near to both Nice and Cannes --
ideal for a pleasantly mellow and informative day.
Perfume capitol of the planet, Grasse draws thousands of visitors
year after year, enthusiastic nomads who long to sniff and swoon
over the latest sweet scents money can buy.
Several perfume museum-factory-showrooms offer visits
including Musée Fragonard, Musée Institut de la Parfumerie,
Galimard and Molinard just to name a few.
Each gallery has its own special character where you're sure to be
wowed as you peek into the technical backbone of the industry
that produces one of the world's costliest luxuries.
Personable guides introduce visitors to Le Nez (The Nose) -- professionals
trained to distinguish from thousands of different scents
that ultimately lead to your favorite perfume.
Vintage bottles designed by crystal purveyors Lalique
and Baccarat make the trip to Grasse exceptional.
Collections of rare objects, works of art and all things
related to the world of perfume are tied together in a package
as pretty as your best bottle of fragrance.
And of course, where can you find a better souvenir of your trip to France?
Perfume speaks volumes and whether you gift it or keep it
for your own personal enjoyment, a bottle of scented luxury says
FRANCE perhaps better than anything else.
"...To create new arrangements, new olfactory forms, it is enough that you think
"in odours", like the painter "in colours", and the musician "in sounds"...
Edmond Roudnitzka, French Master Perfumer
there's nothing more soothing than the scent of a beautiful french perfume.
Scent has been around long before there was a Paris, a Grasse or even a France.
The Greeks and the Romans enjoyed the restorative powers of perfume,
extolling its seductive powers that sometimes changed history.
At one time, bathing was considered unhealthy.
Women had to put up with poorly tanned leather gloves,
making them smell more like a dead animal than a lady.
The essence of flowers became a cure-all for fixing the stink.
Fragrance is symbolic of French culture, commensurate
with her fabled architecture, cuisine and history.
And -- ta da! -- it's a money-maker.
In 2014, the estimated revenue of the fragrance industry was 600,000,000 euros.
Consider the top brands, names you're sure to recognize.
Guerlain, Chanel, Nina Ricci, Christian Dior, Caron,
Annick Goutal, Yves Saint Laurent for starters.
Many fashion houses made the easy segue into fragrance.
After all, perfume is as important to a person's first impression as their wardrobe.
Balmain, Jean Patou, Worth, Hermès, LaCoste, and Givenchy,
kings of haute couture, made the easy leap into the world of scent.
Many of us who cannot afford designer duds
can manage a splurge or two on designer fragrance.
"You use Evyan skin cream, and sometimes you wear L'Air du Temps, but not today."
sniffed Hannibal Lector to Clarisse Starling
But when was the last time you turned your head away from a perfume ad?
Fragrance propaganda is abstract, a highly marketable message often geared
toward passion, romance, femininity, masculinity, youth or confidence.
Selling an abstract aura is not the same as selling cars or political candidates. Savvy marketing gurus go way beyond the scent.
From Madison Avenue to the Champs-Elysées, ad execs ballyhoo what's
behind the brand -- desire, happiness, energy, success and a pretty face.
No doubt, Cleopatra would have owned a namesake perfume,
Caesar and Marc Antony a running competition for best brand.
And who can TiVo through a tv commercial, gorgeously shot in Paris,
selling The Dream -- with whispers of love, passion, beauty ....
and most of all, Paris.
French perfumers lean toward the unspoken offer of escape or eroticism.
Compare that to the American brands that promote "having it all"
like Revlon's retro Charlie commercials -- Shelly Hack wore pants! -- and
Enjoli's "You can bring home the bacon...." ad.
It was the 1980's and a woman could wear perfume
and still be out and out in charge and liberated.
Those ads were so evocative of a specific time and place.
Personally, I love vintage scents like Guerlain's Samsara -- actually all
things Guerlain -- as well as Coco Chanel's very own blend, Coco --
and for my man, Eau Savage by Christian Dior.
My daughter refers to these classics as granny scents in typical
Baby Boomer vs. Millennials fashion.
And that's ok.
After all, we don't dress the same either.
It's a reflection on how closely matched a perfume is to a person's individuality.
So don't write off that vintage bottle -- think vintage wine, classic cars
and The Rolling Stones -- never out of style, more valuable than ever,
and most definitely unforgettable.
"One of the very few things that I do every single day is put on fragrance.
If I'm not wearing make-up, if my hair's not done,
if I'm walking around in pajamas -- I still put my fragrance on.
I will brush my teeth and put on my perfume."
freshly baked bread, clean sheets, a spring rain or the first whiff of a Christmas tree.
Good aromas are one of life's premiere gifts.
Choosing a scent is like voting -- you just know it when you "see" it.
Emotionally intoxicating essences -- flowers, spices, citrus, barks,
mosses -- an incredibly long list of exquisite ingredients go into our perfumes.
Add some scent to your daily routine.
It's your chance for a pampered moment, a gift of luxury
that shouldn't be saved for a rainy day.
You may not be as Parisian as you wish -- you know,
that scarf-tying thing they do -- but you can easily surround yourself
with the essence of Paris -- a fine french perfume
that will lift your spirits and feed your soul.
"Share the fantasy"