Suzanne's Perfume Journal
Image Credits: Close-up photo of love locks on the Pont des Arts bridge in Paris is from the BBC internet news site, and the next photo, of love locks on the Pont de l'Archeveche (with Notre Dame Cathedral in the background) is from Dailymail.co.uk.
The photo of Ines, me and Jasia in front of Jovoy Haut Parfumerie was taken by my husband Mark, and the one of me and Mark in front of the roses at Notre Dame was taken by Jasia Julia Nielsen.
(When I first published this post, all photos were my own, and there were quite a few of them. Unfortunately, due to changes at my hosting company, I had to migrate my old site to this new one, and in the process I lost all of the photos from my Paris trip, except for the two above. It taught me a lesson in the importance of making backups!)
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This past week, I had the pleasure of being a lover in Paris – and I do feel marked by the experience in ways I don't have adequate words to express. Paris is by leaps and bounds the most beautiful city I've ever seen, not just in terms of the stunningly gorgeous architecture but also in terms of the people, whose gregarious lifestyle is the thing I most envied and enjoyed. Perhaps "gregarious" is not a word most people would assign to the French, but to see the way that Paris life is lived outside, on the streets and, specifically, in the cafes, where people gather from mid-morning to the wee hours of the next morning, makes me view them as such. Americans spend so much of their lives behind closed doors, it seems to me; the French do not – they like to see and be seen, and yet they do so in a way that is refreshingly laid-back.
One thing that Paris taught me about myself is that I live too much of my own life in a way that is sheltered and cut-off from the rest of the world, and though it's likely that I will always have that tendency to a degree, the three people I spent my time with in Paris – my husband and two gorgeous young women I met through perfume-blogging and whom I considered friends long before I made their actual acquaintaince during this remarkable trip – make me want to change. Being in excellent company, and being in a place where you can enjoy that company to the fullest, can have a radical effect on a person.
Paris, je t'aime
They call it the City of Love for a reason: all over Paris, you run into them – beautiful couples kissing on bridges, in cafes, on park benches, and in the fading sunlight of the many squares and gardens where, at the end of the day, Parisian residents and tourists like to stroll before heading off in search of dinner and other entertainments. Lovers have left their mark on at least a couple of the bridges of Paris, too, as evidenced by the "love locks" that add their metallic shimmer to the beauty that already exists up and down the River Seine.
Links to Other Bloggers
All I Am - A Redhead
A Perfume Blog (Blacknall Allen)
Australian Perfume Junkies
Beauty on the Outside
Bois de Jasmin
Bonkers About Perfume
Ca Fleure Bon
Eyeliner on a Cat
From Top to Bottom - Perfume Patter
Giovanni Sammarco (artisanal perfumer) blog
Grain de Musc
I Smell Therefore I Am
Katie Puckrik Smells
L'eter - Blog of Olfactive Experience
Memory of Scent
Muse in Wooden Shoes
Natural Perfumery by Salaam
Notes From Josephine
Notes From the Ledge
Now Smell This
Oh, True Apothecary!
Purple Paper Planes
Redolent of Spices
Scents of Self
Sorcery of Scent
The Alembicated Genie
The Cow Jumped Over the Moon
The Fragrant Man
The French Exit
The Perfumed Maze
The Perfume Magpie
The Scented Hound
The Sounds of Scent
The Vintage Perfume Vault
This Blog Really Stinks
Undina's Looking Glass
WAFT by Carol
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Ines, me and Jasia at Jovoy Paris Haute Parfumerie
In a nutshell, my husband Mark and I traveled to Paris specifically to meet up with perfumistas Ines Stefanović (who hails from Zagreb, Croatia) and Jasia Julia Nielsen (from Copenhagen, Denmark). The four of us stayed at the same hotel in the historic Marais neighborhood and spent the next several days sniffing perfumes to our hearts' delight, eating enough foie gras and drinking enough kir royals to leave us in a state of purring contentment, and conversing on all manner of subject, from the general and specific craziness of family life to the physical requirements of opera singers (Jasia, a trained mezzo soprano, is so dainty as to blow anyone's preconceptions about opera singers clean out of the water) to the kinds of weird food stuffs one can expect when traveling in Iceland (remind me not to order the shark if ever I'm in Reykjavik).
Throughout the four days we spent together, I mispronounced both Ines' and Jasia's names enough times to be thoroughly embarrassed, though neither complained. In my husband's words, they are two women intent on enjoying camaraderie, not in taking offense with every little thing, and both he and I fell in love with them. Ines is a model-tall beauty with a quiet way about her: she has a gentle laugh and smile, has been to Paris four times and really knows her way around the city, and is someone I would describe as quietly savvy. What I most enjoyed talking to her about is her home country -- its climate (physical, religious and economic) and its foods (Ines is the person to consult when it comes to steak tartare, which is a dish that I had previously only associated with France). Though I think she would prefer to talk books, I had to quiz her a bit about men (or at least about the longtime boyfriend she mentions on her blog, who drives her around on his motorbike sometimes and who owns a house on the Adriatic coast).
Jasia is a small but deliciously curvy brunette who is quite well-traveled (she has lived in London, Germany and Italy to name a few places) and who sings professionally for a church in Denmark. Though she didn't do any singing in Paris, I can vouch that she has a glorious voice because, knowing of her background in opera, I did a Google search and found some of her recordings. Mirroring her background, Jasia's perfume tastes are for perfumes that have that grand, classical feel to them -- she is definitely a Guerlain girl -- and her culinary tastes, too, run to classic French cuisine. In terms of personality, though, Jasia strikes me as thoroughly modern: she's independent and high-spirited (on a moonlight stroll down to the Seine she nearly convinced my husband to jump the locked iron fence which was guarding some particularly fragrant roses ... or at least from his description, since Jasia isn't owning up to his assertion that she was "egging him on").
It's thanks to Ines that I got to meet Denyse Beaulieu (of Grain de Musc and The Perfume Lover fame); it's thanks to Jasia that we received such fawning attention at some of the perfume boutiques we went to (the men love her, though she will probably frown on me for saying so).
June 5, 2012:
My husband Mark and me in front of the (very fragrant!) roses at Notre Dame Cathedral
And, lastly, it's thanks to my husband that I got to go to Paris and enjoy it the way a true perfumista should. He went with us to each and every boutique and gave us his opinion on every perfume we tried, as well as trying more than a few himself. We ended up coming home with six bottles: Mona di Orio Vanille, Honoré des Prés Vamp à NY, Serge Lutens Vetiver Oriental , Serge Lutens Borneo 1834, MDCI Chypre Palatin, and (Mark's pick for himself) Boadicea the Victorious Invigorating.
A great time was had by all, and though I've left a good deal unsaid (because I only arrived home late last night after a grueling nineteen hours of travel, thanks to layovers and a long drive home from the airport), I'll be back later in the week with a perfume review and a look at one of the very best perfume boutiques one could visit in Paris – Jovoy!! Until then, au revoir ...