I have been breaking my days up roughly into thirds: 8am to noon, 1pm to 4pm and 6pm to 9pm or so. These are the times that I have been out every day visiting stores, museums and markets, hitting a wine bar or two, photographing things like the Eiffel Tower (where I was to be found last night for the sparkle show at 10pm) and stalking chic Parisians, which is much harder than it sounds; more on that later. Anyway, by the time I get back to the flat for my second break at around 6pm, my feet are absolutely killing me, I feel like I have walked for miles in my snuggly warm Ugg boots, and I probably have! The good news is that the boots are warm, the bad news is that they are not really made for walking, and they aren’t particularly chic. Today I made the mistake of leaving early in my boots, hair in a ponytail and no makeup, then traversing the Tuilleries long enough to give my boots a dusting of clay dirt, and then going with Raquel to my favorite café near the Louvre for coffee. After that we went to the Musee d’Orsay, then up to Avenue Montaigne and the 16th for some (window)shopping. By this time I suppose I looked a little bedraggled from the wind and the Tuilleries, and not even my cashmere coat could save me…it’s been a long and tiring week and I look a bit of a mess.
Thankfully though, we were admitted to one of the best perfume houses in Paris, and I explained that I was doing some research. D’accord….the manager and her vendeuse (who were very chicly dressed in black & white with lots of pearls and gold chains) were very gracious to answer my questions and let me take some photos. It was an extremely informative conversation, as I asked them some questions which I am asking various perfume houses in Paris, including: what is the Parisian woman’s attitude towards perfume? How does a women perfume herself? Explain the line, how it is made and a bit of the history and background of the house. The questions vary depending on which house we are visiting, but they are along those lines. I am fascinated by the responses, and the information that each house offers, but you will have to wait until Rêve comes out in May to hear the details.
We tried one parfum on each wrist as that’s about all you can do without confusing your nose, and were also given written information about the house and one sample vial of our favorite as I finished taking my photos. Would Madame care to see some of the photos, I asked? Oui, bien sûr. She only needed to see about three of them before she went back to her office and gave me the card of the company that handles their public relations and instructed her vendeuse to give me a bag full of samples. I think she liked the photos.
Stepping outside, I glanced into my little bag at all the little boxes of perfume vials; these are like gold in Paris, made from the true flowers, herbs and other fragrant natural ingredients. The rose perfume is made from fresh white roses, ground by hand, and all the base extracts come from Grasse, which is the perfume capital of France; most perfumes are made from synthetic extracts, but only the best natural ones come from Grasse. One touch of parfum on your wrist will last all day, and you wouldn’t believe the fragrance….when I get back to Laguna I will offer some kind of a giveaway for most of these.
Working my way back to the flat, I stopped by another perfumer, who will also be included in the book, and she also has an extremely informed view of perfume. We sat down at a table in her little jewel box of a store and talked perfume. You will love her story…..no samples, but great photos, wonderful information, and another place that you will be able to add to your list to visit next time you are in Paris~
Continuing on my way, I stopped off at a boulangerie for a baguette and then at a grocery for some pate brisee to make some little quiches tomorrow morning. Julia (Raquel’s daughter) also asked me to make her an apple tarte, so that is what I made after I got home and soaked my feet for a few minutes. Well, I’m going to say I improvised to make the tarte….there is no cookie sheet here, so I used the oven shelf, turned upside down~
And the store-bought puff pastry, which is sold here in a round form, for $2; it’s fantastic~
I bought a bunch of apples at the market on Wednesday, which have slowly been eaten since then….they are the most fragrant apples I think I have ever tasted, and there will be a wonderful story in the book about the woman who sells them….it made me laugh, but I can’t tell you just yet, sorry!
I peeled and sliced the apples, as usual~
And sprinkled on the only sugar I had. Which was a packet from our Air Tahiti Nui flight to Paris.
The tarte looks delicious, and I can’t wait until we taste it~
Thankfully, I didn’t have to wait very long, as the moment Raquel and Julia arrived home, they were into the warm tarte, with a large dollop of crème frache~
It did not disappoint, it was delicious and the perfect ending to our day of fragrance. Now I’m up for dinner, and I’m teaching the girls how to make Coquilles Saint Jacques a la Parisienne. And tomorrow is another busy day, full of photos and three markets as well as the flea and possibly a brocante or two. I can’t wait…