Friday, January 26, 2007

Les Salons du Palais Royal

When I was a young girl, I traveled to France as a foreign exchange student. Just north of Paris in a little town called Montmorency, I found my home with an intriguing family for three weeks. I went to school daily, ate lots of creme brulee and fresh bread, visited Versailles and the Eiffel Tower and mostly became very home sick. The eyes, ears and sensibilities of a twelve year old limited my Paris experience. However, my nose was as keen as it is today. I can still recall the scent of Clare, the teenager in the house. Her perfume was as sweet and innocent as she and I wondered how she managed to smell so good. I became determined to find that fragrance. Mrs. Leadley, the head of the household in which I was staying, took me on a shopping trip to Forum des Halles one day. I wanted to find gifts for my family - namely, perfume for my mother and wine for my father and perhaps the scent that Clare wore. (Sadly, I never did.) After I chose a bracelet and earrings for myself and a perfume for my mother, Mrs. Leadley said to me, "You like pretty things." Hmph. "Of course I like pretty things. Who doesn't?" I thought. Her comment cemented an idea that lives with me to this day. It has been the inspiration for nearly every wardrobe, wedding, perfume, makeup and jewelry decision I have ever made. Thus, I introduce to you the current object of my fascination and desire: Serge Lutens perfume boutique Les Salons du Palais Royal.

Unfortunately I have never had the opportunity to experience this amazing shopping wonder. What I have had is the opportunity to try various Lutens scents thanks to my mother who made her first trip to Paris last year. Before she left I said, "You must go to the Guerlain boutique and Serge Lutens!" She was so pleased I sent her on that mission. She described Les Salons as dramatic. From the photos, I think it's pretty. Upon her return she loaded me with wax samples and a bell jar from Les Salons which enabled me to fully experience Sir Lutens' delicacies: Tubereuse Criminelle, Gris Clair, Muscs Kublai Khan, Un Bois Sepia, Borneo 1834, Bois de Violette and Santal de Mysore graced my nose within hours of my mother's return. The prettiest of the bunch in my opinion? Bois de Violette without a doubt.

I cannot imagine Lutens' fine fragrances more perfectly experienced than in his Palais. I imagine dramatic lighting, intricate artwork, experienced and knowledgeable fragrance specialists who speak heavily accented English and who wait patiently while I sniff, and perhaps ... perhaps I find a fragrance reminiscent of my first trip to Paris. It sure will be sweet to realize this dream. Until then, I remain in the United States gleaning pleasure vicariously through those who discuss and experience what I consider to be the fragrance shopping holy grail ... Les Salons du Palais Royal.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Salons is a very small, dark, dramatic indeed boutique. The wide-angle picture makes it look much larger than it is. There is an upper floor but you can only go up there by invitation.

The Palais Royal was there long before Serge Lutens created his little jewel-box of a shop. The Salons can in no way be described as palatial. LOL!