Category Archives: Paris

The Scent of French Women

French women didn’t have to wait to learn from scientists that our sense of smell is by far the most powerful of the five senses. Estimates are that 75% of all our emotions are generated by what we smell. Since the time of the Bourbon courts, scented fans, gloves, and rooms have been used to beguile and bewitch, equipping today’s French woman with several centuries of perfume lore at her disposal. Some of the most scent savvy woman stick to signature fragrances. As French Vogue editor, Carine Roitfeld advocates “Scents remind you of people and you should be faithful to them.” Other women collect perfumes throughout their lives (perhaps none so adventurous as Louis XIV who reportedly ordered his courtiers to use a different fragrance every day or Louis XV who requested a difference fragrance for his rooms daily.)

Knowing the fragrance someone chooses makes us feel we know them in a more intimate way than just their biographical information. Below are scents favored by some of France’s most famous women and it should come as no surprise that French fragrances predominate. Artists, entertainers, writers, business women, designers, royalty, and courtesans, all are represented in the list below. Some are French by birth, others adopted France as their home. All are endlessly intriguing and lend their own special “je ne sais quoi” to whatever scent they wear.

Catherine Deneuve: Chanel No. 22, Chanel No 5, L’heure bleue, Chamade, Chanel No. 19, Un Lys

Andree Putman: Nombre Noir

Annick Goutal: Passion (which she created for herself), Folavirl

Brigitte Bardot: Jicky, Vent Vert

Carla Bruni: Vol de Nuit

Chantall Thomass: uses her own fragrance, and also loves Serges Lutens

Carine Roitfeld: Opium for Men

Coco Chanel: Chanel 19 (created as her personal fragrance)

Colette: Jicky

Edith Piaf: Bandit, Le Cinq de Molyneux

Empress Josephine: was so fond of musk that even permeated her rooms decades after her death

Empress Eugene: Eau de Cologne Imperiale, Jasmine Imperatrice Eugenie

Fanny Ardant: Jicky

Gertrude Stein: Jolie Madame

Ines De La Fressagne: Apres l’ondee, Ines

Isabelle Adjani: En Avion, Fantasia de Fleurs, Apres l’ondee, Eau de Camille, Eau du Fier, Heure Exquise, Passion, Ce Soir Ou Jamais,

Isabelle Huppert: L’heure bleue, Folavril

Jacqueline Bisset: Arpege,

Jeanne Moreau: Eau de Charlotte, Folavril, Aubepine Acacia

Josephine Baker: Joy, Sous le vent was created for her

Juliette Binoche: Cristolle

Madame Dubarry: Houbignant cologne

Marie Antoinette: Houbigant, Sillage de la Reine (recreated by perfumer Francis Kurkdjian who based his interpretation on Elizabeth Feydeau’s book, A Scented Palace: The Secret History of Marie-Antoinette’s Perfume)

Marlene Dietric: Angelique Encens (made for her) Bandit, Fracas, Tabac blond, Indiscent, Vol de Nuit

Miou Miou: Zeste Mandarin Pamplemousse

There are also some “make your own” mixtures worth noting:

Madame de Pampadour to seduce Louis XV concocted a love potion of 5 drops rose otto, 7 jasmine, 10 orange and 10 mandarin

Madame de Montespan to seduce Louis XIV: 8 drops ylang-ylang, 7 patchouli, 4 cinnamon and 4 clove

Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor: layered L’heure bleue and Mitsouko

In addition to various publications, sites, special thanks for the information above go to, a fabulous resource for anyone interested in all things related to fragrance.


Filed under Beauty & Fashion, Paris

Travel Alert-What You Really Shouldn’t Leave Home Without

Travel is for fun, carefree, away from the real world experiences, right? That’s true until you wind up in a hospital and the doctors trying to take care of you need vital information you don’t have. This nightmare became a reality some years ago when my husband developed what we thought could be a blood clot after a long flight. We raced to a French hospital and struggled with trying to supply doctors with useful information about his medical history. After exhaustive tests our fear turned out, mercifully, not to be the case, but it scared us into constructing portable medical files containing every scrap of information we thought we might need to provide should another emergency arise in the future. This has worked fine – and “yes” it’s been helpful on a number of occasions — although adding unwanted bulk to our paired down baggage.

This time, for our upcoming trip to Paris, I’ve gotten smart. Each of us will carry our own USB Flash Drive containing all of our medical information including: emergency contacts for doctors and family, most recent medical reports, lists of medications and procedures (down to vitamins and supplements), insurance information and even our health care directives. Digitized records are not universal, so we asked our physicians for Xeroxed copies of the information they judge to be most important, scanned them into our computer and then transferred them to the Flash Drive. All this slips on a key ring and will be easily available at all times. Current prescriptions are kept in a small folding wallet that can be taken to be filled wherever we may be. If only we’d thought of this when we lost that pair of glasses in an Amsterdam café in the pre-medical file days and groped our way through the rest of the trip. (Caution: Not all medications are available outside the US, so be sure in cases where you cannot do without that you have an ample supply.)

Having your emergency and medical information available for any doctors who may be called upon to treat you is not a precaution just for people who have complicated health situations, it’s for EVERYONE. It could save your life – don’t leave home without it.

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What Can We Learn from the French?

The French have given the world haute cuisine and haute couture but perhaps their greatest untapped gift is “haute civility.” Haute civility is not the gallant hand kissing the rest of us cannot quite get the hang of or that seductive accent that makes whatever they say sound great, it’s the way they treat each other – and us — in public places. That old stereotype that the French are rude and unfriendly is kept alive by people who simply haven’t spent time among the French. Take shopping for instance, French shoppers enter a boutique with a polite “Bonjour” to the proprietor and they leave with an appreciative “Merci” (which is reciprocated) whether they have made a purchase or not. A “bonjour” is routinely offered to fellow passengers when entering an elevator – no staring at the ceiling pretending you are alone, and other patients waiting in doctors offices are greeted the same way. Civility even extends to public transportation. In the Paris metro, elders can be assured they will be offered a seat no matter how crowded; and travelers routinely hold swinging doors open for the person behind them. Imagine that on a subway elsewhere. Recently, an American friend living in Paris told of riding a Paris bus and seeing an elderly woman defy the posted and commonly observed direction that passengers should enter through the front door and exist from the rear. Instead, this woman was making her way from her seat in the back against the stream of on-coming passengers. Not only were there no shouts of recrimination, the bus driver and some passing pedestrians stopped to help her make a safe exit. Hurray for the French fine art of social civility – we can all learn from it.

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How better to say "Je t’adore" on Valentines than with Parisian lingerie?

The old warning about “wear nice underwear in case you have to go to the hospital” is something Parisian women never have to worry about; they see having beautiful – and matching — lingerie as one of life’s necessities. It’s a private pleasure and one we all deserve. And what better time that Valentine’s Day to update your lingerie wardrobe – or, better yet, have someone special do it for you. Here are some top picks from our insiders’ little black books.

Since 1889, the bra was invented here by Herminie Cadolle, this legendary custom and ready to wear boutique has never been without its loyal devotees.
4 rue Cambon, 1
Métro: Concorde

Chantal Thomass
Saucy and seductive Chantal Thomass makes naughty very nice — always in luxurious fabrics.
211 rue Saint-Honoré, 1
Métro: Tuileries

Les Folies d’Elodie
The sweetest of sweet-nothings that turn every woman into a coquette.
56 ave Paul Doumer, 16
Métro: Trocadéro

Sabbia Rosa
Supernova of lingerie with clients such as Madonna, Claudia Schiffer, Naomi Campbell and Catherine Deneuve.
73 rue des Saints-Pères, 6
Métro: Saint-Germain-des-Prés


Filed under Beauty & Fashion, Paris, Romance, Shopping

I Know a Little Place: Paris

You can buy the first “I Know a Little Place” Application on Paris by clicking here

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What is I Know a Little Place

What could be more luxurious than having your own personal guide in the world’s great cities to take you shopping to all those out of the way places only insiders know and dont usually reveal? It’s here, in I Know A Little Place where instead of only one guide you have the best picks of many experts. I Know A Little Place asks both local residents and international experts to open their personal black books and give you their own special shopping destinations – the ones they recommend to friends looking for a perfect item and a memorable experience.

I Know A Little Place has over 400 entries in categories covering: Accessories, Antiques, Art Galleries, Men’s Apparel, Women’s Apparel, Beauty&Health, Books, Music, Electronics, Children’s Items, Convenience Stores, Department Stores, Museum Shops, Epicurean Delights, Flowers, Pet Boutiques, Home Items, Paperies, Arts & Crafts, Office Supplies, Sports & Outdoors.

I Know a Little Place allows you to search for shops by category but also through specific neighborhoods. Each shop’s page will show you:
• Name of shop and its color-coded category
• A “Go There” button to take you to a color-coded pin on the map marking the location
• Description of the shops special features
• Street address and arrondissement
• Telephone number – you can dial directly
• Closest Metro, Tube, or Subway Station
• Direction from nearest station to shop
• Street view of shop or neighborhood when available
• A blue dot indicting your own location

At a glance, this unique I Know A Little Place shopping guide gives you a visual overview of the best each city has to offer, consolidated from the recommendations of our many insider sources and presented in user-friendly format.

You can buy the first “I Know a Little Place” Application on Paris by clicking here

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