Hey, Bonjour!

There is something almost soul stealing about long flights. You start the trip so excited… then the excitement gives way to zombie-like lack of sleep and exhaustion from changing planes, schlepping luggage, never drinking enough fluids, meandering around soulless airports, seeing what quickly seems like the same faces over and over and over again until you pretty much hate all humanity, if you believed they were human… or that you were still human.

And my butt! Can anyone ever invent a bottom cushion for an airplane seat that doesn´t create pressure points that just make you want to cry after three hours?

Compound that with taking one 18-year-old and one 21-year-old with you for their first trip to Europe and you get… it was great! From their lack of sleep and drooping eyes to their horror at whether they would survive the ride through Paris to out hotel, their first cup of coffee at an outdoor café in pouring rain while we waited for our hotel room to be ready (is there a conspiracy that most flights land you in Paris between 6-8a and no hotels have your room ready until 3 p.m.?) Letting them go off to explore so the 18-year-old could drink his first legal beer. Even watching him fall asleep on the couch in the hotel lobby and softly snoring, much to the hotel staff´s horror, was priceless. There is nothing better than taking your kids to Europe for the first time.

Now it´s 1 a.m., I´ve managed to get maybe 8 hours sleep in two shifts, and I´ll manage to get another 3-4 before we start a big day tomorrow, and it is raining buckets outside. My snazzy internet card that was supposed to work internationally is… well, not. I´m hoping it will find its signal somewhere, but if it can´t find one in the middle of Paris… well, I think AT&T oversold me on this card. Tomorrow it will be a mission to find a cyber café so you´ll actually ready this post on Thursday.  Hey, mission accomplished, the cafe next to the hotel has a wifi spot.

But what do you contemplate at 1 a.m. Paris time with the sounds of rain outside your window? (And which makes me laugh after reading March’s post about cheap bangs for your buck from yesterday) Shalini. At my son´s graduation, I wore Apres L´ondee pure parfum, and my sister was sniffing around and saw my bottle of Shalini and does the… “Whaaat´s thissss??!?!: that just unnerves me so. She spritzed it, and I remember just how beautiful it is… and more expensive than any perfume should ever be. It´s a ridiculously priced perfume… beyond ridiculous. All day, I kept smelling the most ephemeral and gorgeous smell. I knew it wasn´t me, though I did smell great. I finally figured out it was her. Tuberose wrapped in sunshine. We went to the driving range the afternoon of my son´s graduation, and I kept whiffing that smell. For some reason, I always thought it disappeared or was too light on me. Oh, no, not true, it haunted me every second of the day, wafting over from the one spritz on her neck.

First thing the next morning, I had my own on so I could haunt myself. It is lovely, and there really is nothing else that smells like it. Beautiful, buttery sunshine, that´s my best description. It´s still priced obscenely.

And what perfumes do you think I brought with me to Paris? Nada. I still don´t know why I didn´t even bring a decant or two in my suitcase, but maybe it´s just time for a three-week perfume holiday, and the only smells I´ll write about are the ones I smell during our trip.

Today´s smell is rain. CB does some scents that come close to capturing it, but he gets more of the earth in the rain. Rain itself is like no other smell. It slices through all the other smells around you and somehow makes them better without completely obliterating them. And thunder? Can I tell you? my idea of heaven is thunder and lightning rolling across a night sky. I used to lay on on my daddy´s truck on the farm when I was a girl in Kansas, watching thunderstorms roll in, the air ionized, bolts of lightning dancing sometimess up and down and sometimes just in the clouds, staying far above us. And the smell… Lord, that is the smell I want bottled to take with me everywhere.

Tomorrow´s adventures is some sight-seeing, though we may need an umbrella or two. Notre Dame and St. Chapelle if the rain keeps up, and probably just some aimless meandering around the St. Germain district after that and a visit with my Uncle and his family. I can´t wait to see my son´s eyes as they take all this in for the first time. Yes, there will be pictures, and check for me on my photoblog, the link is on the left.

Xo y´all!

  • Adam says:

    I’m sorry, did you say BOTTLE of Shalini? As in, you have a $900 bottle of perfume? I always feel better when I read perfume blogs, because they make my little collection seem positively Spartan by comparison. 😛

  • violetnoir says:

    I love the rain in Paris, Patty. I just love it. There’s nothing like Paris in the rain under an umbrella.

    It sounds like your trip is getting off to a wonderful, and memorable, start!

    Hugs!

  • Cheezwiz says:

    Bonjour Patty! I hope you have a magical time in Paris with your sons. I think they are at the perfect age to experience travel for the first time.

    It’s just a shame we must endure such brutal flights to get back and forth. It’s 10 hours from my home to Paris, and I must say I was completely homicidal by the time I collected my baggage. No human should have to fly crammed into coach for 10 hours. Someday, just once, I would love to experience travel in first class.

    I hope you get to do some sniffin’ and highly recommend Patricia de Nicolai. The staff were very friendly and patient with my broken French, and they have very reasonably priced perfumes.
    Au revoir for now!

  • Arwen says:

    Bon voyage, Patty.

    I am sure you will have a wonderful time. Notre Dame is one of my favorite places in Paris. I climbed up and walked around the gargoyles in the rain, that was fun!
    I can’t wait to hear about your trip.
    xo
    Arwen

  • tmp00 says:

    I love the rain myself, esp. thundershowers. So where do i move? Rain-free SoCal! :d

    • Shelley says:

      On the subject of inexpensive scent + rain…time to run to your local Gap…$12 for a bottle of “Rain” body spray…it’s the predictable smell (not much different from my now aging bottle of Demeter “Rain,” and not much but that, but it’s a good price point.

  • zara says:

    i wish you lots of nice smells in paris and to your children, the europe first-timers 😉 great things to see and taste, which paris offers in loads, there’s no doubt about it (such as, pain au chocolat, fresh and crispy baguettes, beer, wine and smelly cheese :)) looking forward to the pictures

  • Benoit says:

    Hi,

    Welcome here 🙂

    Yes it’s very bad weather … and the forecast are not good.
    But the shops are wide open 🙂

    Perhaps i will encounter a strange familly during my perfume trip saturday 😉 … who knows.

    And to answer to another post here in France and especially in Paris there is NO discount on perfume … we can smell what we want .. but no hard discount.

    • Musette says:

      Benoit,

      Hi! Nice to see you on this blog! I think Kim’s question wasn’t about discounts on the high-end perfumes but rather, are there drugstore-type scents like we have here (Stetson,Coty,Jovan, etc) that are endemic to Paris (or France). I’m not sure if your answer responds to that particular question – if not, it would be really interesting to get a Parisian’s recommendations on what to sniff at the local chemists or grocery store (we tend to have perfumes sometimes at the grocery store here, which is strange but…whatever;)

      If your answer was in response to that query then….dang!

      Here’s hoping the weather clears up – for all of you!

      xo

      • Kim says:

        Yes, I was wondering about the kinds of inexpensive perfumes like Stetson or Coty that one can find in drugstores in North America. Are there French equivalents and are they any good – like March said yesterday “Big Bang for the Buck” ? Or Excellence for the Euro – hmm, doesn’t quite translate?

      • benoit says:

        Ok in my opinion

        Monoprix has very low price Cologne that I likes

        Other you can find in drugstore to department store
        Roger Gallet : Good perfume at low price (eau de gingembre for exemple)
        Molinard : good soliflore at moderate price 🙂

        • kathleen says:

          But we can get those here of course. No point in subjecting oneself to the abysmal exchange rate now that the $ is no longer worth much. If one is in Paris, the obvious thing to do is seek out what is unavailable here. Then the cost is justifiable.

          • Kim says:

            I agree – I was mostly curious to know what the drugstore level offers in France vs. here. Sounds nice to be able to find Roger Gallet easily – maybe says something about how tastes differ between the two countries?

        • Benoit says:

          Ok now I understand better …
          And i really hope that quality is better for you.

          The traditional way to buy perfume in France was to buy it in a “Parfumerie” a special shop which sells only perfume.

          The traditional way was quite a monopoly during decade. Of course major perfume houses have their own shops but it is impossible for a supermarket to sell perfumes. (the solution was to create Supermarket for Perfume … sephora for exemple)

          We have no real Drugstore in France, each items is often sold in different stores which have their own reglementation.

          Drugs and medecine can only be sold in a “Pharmacie” and french peopple like the notion of “small shops with only one kind of thing inside”.
          Supermarket and Pharmacy have their own cosmetics but it is really reduced in size. (even if medium price brand like Roger Gallet prefer to be sold in “Health Care” shop than in classic Parfumerie)

          In the chinese quarter of Paris you can begin to find what an american calls a Drugstore.
          And you can find “Perfume” that I never see elsewhere ..
          These kind of shops at very low price can be found now in most popular quarter of Paris. But you have to understand that it is not part of French culture.

          I am quite sure that most of french peopple regreat medieval guilds where only one regulated profession has the right to sell one kind of items.

          And the word “Parfum” in French, means often something buyed in a “Parfumerie” (except for perfumista who understand that it is an extract).
          If I buy an “Eau de toilette” in a super market … i will never call it a “Parfum”. I will say “Darling I have bought a “Cologne” or an “Eau de toilette”.
          But if I buy “Shalimar Light” in eau de toilette concentration most french peopple will call it a “Parfum” and certainly not an “Eau de toilette” .. that’s strange I know 😉 because for most of you between a Parfum and an Eau de Toilette it is only a question of concentration … for us it is first a question of quality.

  • Kim says:

    I hope you have a wondrous and adventurous trip and that you have the pleasure of seeing Europe anew through your kids.

    Yesterday’s post by March popped into my head while reading yours today – just what is the French equivalent of inexpensive drugstore perfumes? Are there French ‘cheapies’ that are wonderful? Or are there drugstore scrubbers just like here? Is that even possible in the land of Chanel and Guerlain and Caron? ^:)^

  • Betsy says:

    What a beautiful post, Patty! I love the idea of wearing lovely to haunt yourself. And your description of watching thunderstorms as a girl… it brought me right back to my girlhood, too. The way the rain smelled in the small Florida town where I was born remains one of my most visceral (and favorite) scent memories. I left when I was eighteen and haven’t been back since then, but sometimes, even in amidst the occasionally rancid stink of, say, summertime in New York, I’m still able to conjure up that wonderful, clean, pale blue smell, and I might as well be teleported home again. Ain’t smell an amazing thing?

    Have a terrific time in Paris! Get your sniff on for the rest of us, lady. Can’t wait to read more about your trip.

    • Betsy says:

      Geez, seems I’m in word-forgetting mode this morning. In that first sentence, I meant to write that “I love the idea of wearing lovely SCENTS to haunt yourself” (and, gosh darn it, I really have to get my hands on that Shalini. Buttery sunshine? Forget about it, I’m done!).

  • Billy D says:

    Stop, stop!! This is my fantasy trip, and with the way the economy is going, I’ll never take it! I have never been outside the country, and Europe is definitely my first stop when I do–London, Paris, Florence, Amsterdam…grrr. If I could only go to one city though, it would have to be Paris. I think I would spend all my time in museums though…I’m a musee junkie.

    I’m totally lemming Apres L’ondee right now, and hoping that it’s not too femme for me to pull off, I the lover of cold cold violets.

    PS: Are you bringing back any of the new Guerlain, Brume d’Automne for the court? The description is killing me…

  • Sounds like fun (minus the bucktloads of rain, we have been having copious sunshine since April, lucky us!) and you would need a clean “palate” -so to speak- in Paris in search of new fun things to try. b-)

    Taking your kids along for their first trip to Europe is of course the greatest memory they can have from this time in their lives.
    Hope you all have a wonderful time!!!

  • Musette says:

    Patty,

    What a lovely post! To me, the only thing better than Paris in the (light) rain is Paris in the fall (or anytime at all:-) To share this with your sons is life-enhancing. enjoy every minute of it!

    Perfume to Paris? Why?:-j You’ll have samples and bottles falling out of your shoes in no time!

    Have a wonderful time! Enjoy some sights and smells for me, okay?

    xo

  • kathleen says:

    Have a lovely time, Patty. Bring back lots of memories, scents, & photos. Enjoy your time with your young men but don’t be too disappointed if they seem more interested in french women than french architecture!

  • March says:

    Squeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! I am so excited for you!! Those boys are going to have the time of their lives, and you will always remember this trip. Some of the Cheese’s best stories are trips he took with his mom to Europe. I wonder what y’all are doing right now? Maybe a late dinner….

    I love all the SMELLS. I know you are attuned to that, since you’re so into perfume. I love the Paris smells — the smells of the various food shops, the smell of the cathedrals, the smell in the rainy streets. I am so glad you are going to do some aimless walking around, that’s the best part of all. @};-

  • Judith says:

    Oh Patty, everything sounds lovely! I am turning a becoming shade of chartreuse. Have a wonderful time, and keep us posted!

  • Anne says:

    Know what you mean about storms. When we were young and spending summers on the Connecticut shore my mom would wake us up in the middle of the night to watch the beautiful lightening out on the water. Now as adults we all love storms but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I found out that my mom was scared ****less of the storms. She woke us up to keep her company but also she didn’t want us to grow up with that same phobia. She focused herself and us on their beauty instead. I will always be thankful to her for that gift.

    Your boys will remember this gift you are giving them. Be present. Enjoy!

  • donanicola says:

    Lovely post, Patty. Paris is just so special it matters not what the weather does. I giggled at the thought of your young companions being freaked by Paris driving. I remember the first time I was driven in Paris and thinking “that’s why they have all round the car bumpers”. I cannot imagine you will be without a perfume for long though 😉

  • Louise says:

    Funny how much I love Paris in the rain, very corny, but I do :”>

    It is so wonderful to introduce our kids to very new places, even a young adults such as yours. My mom was brave enough to take me (age 13) and my sis (16) for our Grand Tour. While I am quite sure she was asking herself every day what we were getting out of it, since we were little hellions, it certainly was life-molding for me. I vowed then I would live abroad, and so I did. And will again.

    Have a marvelous time, and keep those kids out of the Stella Artois!

  • MattS says:

    A Kansas farm girl in Gay Paris…ain’t life grand?? It sounds like it could be a musical. Love you, love, and I hope you’re having a wonderful time. Smell lots of things. 😡

  • Anthony says:

    We sound like we were separated at birth. That was a fantastic article and it sounds like you reached in my head and pulled out, well, ME… from the thunderstorm sentiments to the hatred producing international flights, etc etc etc etc etc… 🙂 By the way I was watching the Graham Norton show one day and he reviewed on the show a fragrance which aims to smell like the scent of rain when it hits the London pavement. He said it smelled like pee but it may be worth investigating. I was haunted by Bolt of Lightning, and now, I must experience Shalini, even if it’s a little teeny tiny drop. You were most generous to allow your sister that spritz it would seem 🙂 Again, great post! I can’t wait to read about your Parisian experiences!!