24 Hour Perfume People – A Parisian Photo Essay

Portia of Australian Perfume Junkies invited me to join her and pals for an April trip to Paris a while ago. I thought I had better give it a miss considering I had booked a big holdaiy for July. Then last Wednesday I had one of those “life is short” moments and got on to fellow frag fanatic Lisa, to see if I could travel with her for the weekend. (Look out for her write-up on I Scent You A Day).

On Friday we boarded the Eurostar at St. Pancras.



‘I Want My Time With You’ – Tracey Emin’s new pro-EU artwork.


On arrival at the Gare du Nord, we headed straight for the Metro.



Photo credit: Lisa Jones


Lisa was staying at a hotel in the Latin Quarter while I was sleeping on the sofabed at Portia’s Airbnb, conveniently located in Les Halles. Before we met the others we found time to visit a huge French pharmacy. These places are full of amazing skincare that is often cheaper than back home. My usual Nuxe lip balm costs £9.50 but I got a couple here for 6.99 euro each.



When I arrived at the apartment, Scott was sorting through his precious scent strips from their trip to The Osmotheque the day before. He kindly let me sniff the recreated Iris Gris.



That evening we walked past the amazing Pompidou Centre on our way to dinner in the very cool Marais district.




Pompidou Centre



The next morning we had croissants by the pond in the Tuileries gardens. Portia harassed the ducks and we messed about in front of The Louvre.




Then we made our way to the Jardin du Palais-Royal to meet up with the others (14 in total) for a 10am appointment at Serge Lutens.




Jardin du Palais-Royal



Tim and Lisa, with Margo in the background being fabulous (as per).




A Portia Photobomb







We went up the hallowed spiral staircase where few mortals are allowed to go.




Each of the three tables had 4 different bell jars – and macarons!



After an introduction about Serge Lutens – the man himself – the staff passed around paper strips dipped into each of the twelve fragrances in turn. With strips in hand, they then read some corresponding background information about them.

The bell jars included Santal de Mysore (spiced), Miel de Bois (happily urine-free), Iris Silver Mist (bliss), Borneo 1834 (yum), Cuir Mauresque (greasy leather – in a good way), Chene (great), Un Bois Sepia (ugh), Fumerie Turque (very popular with the room), La Myrrhe (classy) and Rose de Nuit (own it).




Afterwards, we were able to request others. I asked to try Une Voix Noire (which I thought I might buy) and De Profundis on skin along with Iris Silver Mist.


Une Voix Noire turned out to be a transparent, almost honeyed, white floral. It was rather lovely but because it wasn’t the smoky gardenia I’d expected, it threw me.  I reckoned it was too much of a risk to purchase on the spot (I need a decant first).



The Cool Kids Table


The one I decided to buy was Iris Silver Mist because I’m trash for iris and it isn’t as carrot-y or metallic as it used to be. When I thanked one of the SAs on my way downstairs and told her I was buying ISM, she told me it was currently available as a 30ml travel atomiser with a 30ml refill. At 120 euro for a total of 60ml (which I can spray!) compared to 190 euro for the 75ml bell jar, this was a result.

Just about everyone came away with something. In Portia’s case, three somethings – La Myrrhe, Chene and Chypre Rouge.




Le Waft



Below left is the box and then below right is the black travel atomiser full of ISM, with the refill alongside it. I’ve worn it every day since and adore it. Anna-Maria bought the same and accidentally but brilliantly renamed it Irish Silver Mist 🙂



After lunch, we stopped off at Dior on our way to Jovoy. None of the swath of new perfumes in La Collection grabbed me but it’s great they do 40ml bottles now. Apparently Mitzah is released as a limited run each year, but only available in Paris.




Jovoy is a large store stocking a lot of luxury niche brands.  I tried Niral by Neela Vermeire Creations and a couple of the fragrances by Anatole Lebreton. I wanted to love Grimoire because of its wonderful name but sadly, did not. (You can read about my visit to the new London branch here).



A few of us wanted to visit the Sacré-Coeur and Montmartre so we left the others to it.

That tiny baby – bottom right – squealed and scared Portia out of her skin. Hahaha.



Before heading back to the apartment we made a visit to Divine Perfumes. Apparently L’Homme Sage went down well.



We spent the evening at a very nice restaurant where I tried my first oyster.



The Last Supper


This fantastic group of perfume people made me feel included even though I was piggybacking on their trip at the last minute.

Lisa and I headed for the Eurostar home the next morning so it was essentially only one full day in Paris but wow, what a day.

Huge thanks to everyone involved for making it so special.





Filed under Perfume Events, Perfume Friends, Perfume Shopping, Travels

23 responses to “24 Hour Perfume People – A Parisian Photo Essay

  1. Marian

    What a day indeed. You certainly packed a lot in. Thank you for sharing. Loved the photos.


    • Photos aren’t my strong point Marian, so happy to hear you loved them! I wouldn’t have got nearly as much done if it weren’t for Portia and the crew. Exhausting but well worth it.


  2. I loved reading about your trip! You’re very adventurous: I need a lot more planning these days 🙂
    Congratulations on your ISM purchase: I think that you made the right choice. I own 2 bell jars and I never use perfumes directly from them but rather decant them into small spray bottles.


    • I’ve forced myself to be more adventurous over the last few years. I let too much pass me by before. Planning helps though if you have the time!
      You know, as nice as it was to save some money, the sprayer was the best part of finding out about the ISM travel atomiser. I also decant my bell jar into small spray bottles and it’s not ideal.


  3. What a day Tara!! I haven’t opened my Irish Silver Mist! I am so glad you took the Journey to Paris, Tara. Now we have Venice, Paris and next stop Austral, xxxxxx


    • Anna Maria, it’ll go be good to save it for when you get back home and can relive all those memories.

      I am SO glad I made it over to Paris and got to see you before July.


  4. crikey

    *What* a fabulous day! That, and your London visit, look like they were overflowing with good people time. With perfume as a bonus!

    (I wish they sold more in the atomisers–I have some Fourreau Noir like that, and it just ends up getting used more than the one bell jar I own, with the decanting nonsense to spray.)


    • I don’t get to see these wonderful friends for the majority of the year, Crikey so I had to make the most of it! Feast or famine. Writing about it makes it last longer, in a way.
      Totally with you on the atomisers. I think they were only selling 3 like that. The bell jars are beautiful but so impractical.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Glad you changed your mind, Tara. Looks like you had much scented fun. R


  6. Amazing! What great fun! 😀


  7. Lady Jane Grey

    Those spontanous quick decisions turn out to be the best, T. – well done !
    Hah, I love the pic photobombed by Portia 😄, he is such a treasure !
    Ah, those classic bell jars, I love ISM – LOL, you are so diplomatic with „very populat with the room“… 😜


    • Portia IS a treasure. As are you, M.
      I didn’t know you loved ISM. I honestly couldn’t remember Fumerie Turque but I know a couple of people bought it!


  8. Wonderful write up and photo essay Tara. I’m excited about ISM being less carrotty actually, not that I *need* more iris perfumes 😄
    I beat myself up for not finding time to try Grimoire, what was it like to you?
    I didn’t comment on your review of Niral as I wanted to write about it too, and didn’t want to get too influenced, I’m looking forward to reading it though.


    • We always *need* more iris, right? 🙂
      I only tried Grimoire briefly on paper but it was sour dark green/earthy. Certainly appropriate for something witchy but not pleasant for me.
      No worries, about the Niral. That was Sandra’s take actually. Look forward to your review.


  9. I don’t need more iris perfumes as you know, but I loved reading about your trip! The Serge Lutens sniffing session looked very swish, and you did well to drop less money than you need for the bell jars on those smaller formats. Glad you found a travel buddy in Lisa too. Did you like your oyster?


    • Hi V,

      The sniffing session at Serge was pleasingly swish. I was offered a choice of 2 types of posh black tea. The staff were stand-ins but it didn’t bother me. I think they were pretty pleased with the effort and putting up with our chatter when we went downstairs and the till started ringing 🙂

      Funny thing with the oyster. I didn’t dislike it but not sure I liked it either.


  10. What a wonderful post! So glad you seized the moment and went! I loved all your photos, but the Portia photo bomb is The Best. Portia, I want to read a review of Chypre Rouge by you; I have it in a sealed bottle in its former presentation, bought on clearance in a perfumeria in Barcelona, but I haven’t been brave enough to open it yet.


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