Serge Lutens’ Magic Perfume

Referring to the title of this post, I was already a believer in the power of Serge Lutens’ creations, and no this new scent that was presented to a small group of Paris bloggers, is not in actuality “magic”…but… it could be, almost. It has incredible powers of transformation, and sparks vibrant images of my imagination.

Serge Lutens Paris boutique, stairs

Photo by Prête-Moi Paris

The boutique at Palais Royal where we were invited after hours, is a place I have indulgently and luxuriously become opulently used to, although it never ceases to onvoke awe and appreciation in me and heighten my creative senses. It is such an intriguing place. Soulaimane, who hosts these soirées, is the ever gracious and elegant host as well as a passionate believer (or converter) in the scents of the magician Lutens. He offers us champagne refreshments and little cakelettes to make us feel at ease and welcomed. And then he launches into in-depth explanations of all the scents that come about in conversation, as they are on display atop the table in front of us. He allows the conversation to ease its way around the different perfumes and olfactive opinions that are invoked by each of us present. And once we have been gently cradled into the atmosphere and universe of Serge Lutens perfumes, then he comes about with his explanation of the origins of the new creation.
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It all makes scents to me now!

I had been wanting to visit the Fragonard museum for quite some time now, knowing that the guided tour is free, and finally the opportunity came up. (It’s hard to make time for frivolous and fun things sometimes, even in the city of Paris…time, that ever fleeting escape artist…)

Photo : Fragonard web site

Sitting just behind the Garnier Opera house, the hôtel particulier (mansion house) in which the museum is house was designed by one of Garnier’s students, Lesoufaché, in 1860 and reminds us of the old Parisian splendor of the 19th century. Painted ceilings, gorgeous molding, gold-leafing and brilliant crystal chandeliers that date from the time the building was constructed… it’s enough to make you day-dream…

Photo : Fragonard website

But you don’t have much time to let your mind wander into 19th century land, when people wore top hats and carried canes and drove in carriages… because your highly knowledgeable guide has a thousand things to tell you about the history of perfume and how it came to Europe, France and on your wrist.

Photo : Fragonard web site

I learned that perfume was invented in the middle east for the Arabian royalty many many centuries ago… Grecian folks also used scents as offerings to gods. Perfume in it’s primitive form was created out of oils and fats that were permeated with the scents of plants and flowers… Later, perfume then was begotten from the condensation process that we all know of from watching that creepy movies (based on a novel) called “Perfume”, and an essential oil is extracted. But I won’t tell you all of the secrets I learned at the Fragonard perfume museum…because it is so much more entralling when you here about it in that exquisit building. I will tell you though that I learned that were very few perfumers in the world today, in French they are called “Nez” as in nose! There are perhaps around 100, in the entire world and only a couple of them actually create for their own brand (Serge Lutens is one of those)! It is not easy to become a “nez”, you must have abachelor’s of chemistry degree to even be considered at the schools of perfume. In France there are 2 schools, one in Grasse and one in Versailles. The school in Versailles required two years to get the degree (that is if you are accepted into the school and can handle the rigorous studies) and there is an age maximum (around 32 I believe). The school in Grasse does not have an age requirement and the degree lasts one year.

Photo : Fragonard web site

Perfume is made from essential oils and is composed with only 25% of alcohol, and eau de toilette is made with 50% alcohol… this tid-bit and other fun things to know about perfume and the work of a “nez” are to be discovered at this magnificent museum. And the ground floor is their boutique where you get high quality French made products for bargain prices, because there is not middle-mad seller between Fragonard fabrication and …Fragonard boutiques!

Le musée du parfum
9 rue Scribe
75009 PARIS
Tél: +33 (0) 1 47 42 04 56
Fax: +33 (0) 1 47 42 17 45

Open Monday to Saturday  9am to 6pm.
Open Sundays and holidays 9am to 5pm.
Métro station : Opéra

Serge Lutens – a voyage for the senses


There is a place where you can take a trip of sensations, olfactory voyages down memory lane or places yet to be discovered.

Tucked away in the gallery boutiques of the Palais Royal, Serge Lutens hosts a magical journey in his boutique at the Shiseido shop. This place, conceptualized by Serge Lutens himself,is unique in the world, and the only place that sells his exclusive line :

Rich with colors and sensuality, these liquid elixirs come from classic and pure elements, that are married with care and creativity to the imagination of Mr. Lutens. And they do bring your imagination on a trip…somewhere… Come in and test these delicately concocted scents, each one unique, each one containing the recollection of places past or things yet to be seen, mysteries and memories, longings and luxurious possessions, these scents hold the promise of sensation.

P1030145Smell, test, describe, reminisce, wait, smell again, wonder, wander, indulge, return, test, savor, dream…

Serge Lutens…he starts out at 14 years old, in a chic hair salon in Paris, where he dolls up his friends, and photographs them… this gains him a leg up from Vogue who hires him to do make and hairstyles for their magazine, and then Dior stakes their claim on him, asking him to create a line of luxury make-up… he continues his photography and exposes it in New York and other museums around the world, he makes movies, he becomes a nez, a perfume creator, a marketing expert, an interior designer…what DOESN’T he do?!? A creative person by nature, he finds sensuality everywhere. You can find it at 142, Galerie de Valois, 75001 Paris