The Allure of French Perfume


Although you would think that the French were the first people to create perfume, it was actually the Egyptians who produced the first vial of scent. So why is France now thought to be the birthplace of fragrance? Perhaps it has something to do with the country’s love of perfume or its reputation as being the home of some of the world's best scents (Chanel No. 5, Yves Saint Laurent Opium, and Dior J’Adore come to mind), or maybe it’s the belief that Paris is at the center of the world's cultural hub. France's strongest connection with perfume is through a small town on the French Riviera called Grasse—a town in France that is known as the capital of perfume. It’s recognized around the globe for being the best at distilling scents, with huge companies such as Givaudan, Firmenich, and Quest creating perfumes there. The town produces more than two-thirds of France's natural aromas and over 27 tons of jasmine a year (a very popular ingredient in perfumes and the secret ingredient to Chanel No.5), and the climate is ideal for growing flowers—it’s warm, sheltered from the sea air, and has an abundance of water. Grasse is also the setting for the end of the film Perfume (a tale of one man's obsession with scent), and the town where hundreds of "noses" (another word for perfumers) go to create fragrance and try new scents. It could also be the French love for anything beautiful, scented, and feminine that has made the world believe that perfume originated in this stunning country, a place where frivolity, beauty, and love are held with the highest regard. Here are our three favorites from the latest French perfumes, all of which deliver the finest scents that France has to offer.

Honoré de Prés, Nu Green

This gorgeous French company presents its perfumes in glass jam jars, which the creator, Honore, uses to preserve the fragrance and reinforce its magic. This scent is impeccably fresh and clean, and smells like a warm day and freshly cut grass. It was inspired by a swim in a natural rock pool and contains notes of green mint, herbs, and cedar wood.

Guerlain, Shalimar Parfum Initial EDP

Inside the stunning bottle is a decadent scent of woody femininity. Think of a beautiful velvet gown worn outside on a warm summer night, brushing by a jasmine bush. Based on the original Shalimar that was created in 1925, this lighter version contains the same notes of Centofolia rose, vanilla, and Italian iris, but is a softer, gentler version of the original heady fragrance.

Diptyque, Eau Mage

This slightly masculine scent is ideal for the colder months when you want to wear oversize knits and boyfriend jeans. It was created to celebrate 30 years of Diptyque, and contains notes of green mandarin and cumin, perfect for both you and your guy.

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