There are Californians who are trying to ban the wearing of fragrance. When I lived in SF, I had perfume-free detergent and fragrance-free soaps. Body odor was in. Then I moved to Paris and went into sensory overload. The French like to perfume everything. Even their toilet paper!!!
At first I’d spend hours tracking down the odorless products I loved from home. Especially the toilet paper. I still have to make special trips to specific stores to find white, perfume-free toilet paper. But in other areas, I have progressed. I love the laundry clean scent of my savon de Marseille laundry detergent and wait patiently as Mr French spends hours (ok, 15 minutes, but it feels like hours) selecting body wash fragrances. He likes to have a variety to choose from. He just never knows when he awakes each morning if he is going to be in a kiwi mood, ginger bread humour, or geranium leaf spirits each day.
These sound like really intimate details about a man’s life, but after visiting countless washrooms in Paris, I can tell you that this is something of a local past time. Les parisiennes‘ showers tend to look like well stocked grocery shelves. Local habits were so glaringly different from our three bottle (shampoo, conditioner, soap, who could ask for anything more?) approach that even my nine year old noticed it after her third or fourth slumber party.
Naturally perfumes were not something I had on my radar. It has been a learning process, a slow, painful one if you listen to Mr French’s version. Last week in an effort to cultivate me at last, he took me to a perfume shop. Not just any shop, but Frederic Malle’s luxurious little boutique with its red walls, fine art and shower sized, glass tubes with windows you can open for an isolated whiff of a chosen scent.
Fréderic’s shop, Editions de Parfums, has a unique approach. Monsieur Malle works closely with a handful of professional, internationally acclaimed noses to develop unique scents that are inspired by precious memories and cherished moments. Like the scent of a grandmother’s lipstick, or a late night stroll.
Going beyond personal fragrances, there is a small collection of candles, diffusers and even rubber incense to help you bring the aromas of Notre Dame, a Parisian café or a gardenia scented evening in to your home.