Holiday 2018: Paris Perfume Shopping

Hi there Posse! Sorry I didn’t get this Paris Perfume Shopping post done earlier but life got in the way. TBH I packed up these fragrances from the dining room table when we had guests. I did it in such a rush I completely forgot where the the box was. Even what the box looked like. As is ALWAYS the way, the minute I stopped looking was the one I found them in. PHEW!

Most perfumistas dream is to visit Paris at least once in their lives. Searching out the enormous amount of perfume houses, department stores, boutiques and fragrant experiences. This year was particularly special because there were about 15 perfumistas from all over the world who came together for a long weekend. Our crew was Anna-Maria, Scott and myself all sharing an Air BnB in the Chattels les Halles district for three glorious weeks and the rest of the gang flew or trained in to hang for a couple of nights. You can go back and read about our Osmotheque and Serge Lutens experiences.

Holiday 2018: Paris Perfume Shopping

Holiday 2018: Paris Perfume Shopping

Paris Perfume Shopping haul. L-R: Guerlain Shalimar Tea, Splash Forte refills by IUNX, 1947 (Dahlia) by Eric Buterbaugh Florals, Kasbah by 19-69, Serge Lutens Chene, Chypre Rouge and La Myrrhe.


Holiday 2018: Paris Perfume Shopping

Guerlain was the brand that I made most visits to. Before arriving in Paris I already had two things on my hitlist, Le Plus Beau Jour de Ma Vie (The Best Day Of My Life). My longterm love for Guerlain and the long, overly dramatic, ridiculous name made it the forerunner for my Wedding Fragrance in July (Winter in Oz). My Shalimar tea had run dry late last year and I wanted a replacement for it, also, while in Galleries Lafayette I tried and then craved Royal Extrait.

Sadly, when I went to visit 68 Champs Elysees with Francesca nobody would serve us. We were waved at and asked to wait by 4 or 5 SAs but no one turned up to order from for about 30 minutes and I got the shits and left. Telling the perfectly gorgeous, everlasting Francoise on the way out that I wanted to shop but no one would help. It was a let down.

Then I went to the new (and freaking spectacular) Place Vendome store but while they were the loveliest SAs ever and charmed the wallet right outta my pocket they didn’t have Le Plus Beau Jour de Ma Vie on tap to make a coloured bell jar and Royal Extrait wasn’t there either. BUMMED!

Shalimar Teas were such a draw I went back to 68 Champs Elysees and shopped. Being a contrary and spoiled person I decided not to buy the other bottles, bit bummed about that now but c’est la vie.


IUNX is a store that has a reputation for asshole SAs. I’m not really sure what they’re playing at but I’ve seen two staff members lie to the clients with my own eyes. Still, it is a Paris Perfume Shopping experience. I needed refill for my Splash Forte because no one has ever done a sheer woodsy cinnamon and incense like it. Splash Forte is bloody genius and gets quite a bit of wear around here.

Anna-Maria and I wander in together and the SA smiles at us. It was like walking into an alternate universe. I make my purchase and then we start chatting to the girl. She mentions how nice it is to hear our Aussie accents because she lived in Sydney for a while in Parramatta. O M G! We start talking and she used to work with a couple of Anna-Maria’s cousins here. It was so great, we chatterers and laughed away about 30 minutes. It was so extraordinary that I bought Anna-maria a travel bottle of her favourite perfume from the line to memorialise the moment, Eau Blanche I think.

Le Bon Marche WikipediaWikiCommons

Le Bon Marche

Le Bon Marche in the Saint Germaine district was a department store Scott, another Aussie mate Michael and I visited. If you ever go to Paris it is a MUST SEE. Galleries Lafayette and Printemps are the biggest, Le Bon Marche is the most refined. Shoppers are scarce and mostly they are well to do Parisians just quietly going about their day.

Eric Buterbaugh is a house I’ve been watching. Apollo Hyacinth is unbelievably beautiful. If it came in a spritz the bottle would already grace my collection. 1947 (Dahlia) is a freakish floral that smells more like a Korean chrysanthemum tea. Yes, there are florals up top but below is this totally funky wheatgerm and wood. Yes, I bought it. Seriously, it is excellent. I’m wearing it right now.

On the way out I was saying Au Revoir, Merci and gave a little wave. As my hand came down I collected a Memo candle and it smashed into a dozen pieces on the tiles. MORTIFIED! Seriously wished the ground could have opened up and swallowed me. AAARGGHHHH! Even now, thinking of it. The sales assistant was lovely about it. Michael and Scott were laughing hysterically and I couldn’t help but join in. The laugh of mortification.

Liquides Perfume Bar

Liquide Perfume Bar

Liquide Perfume Bar at 9 Rue de Normandie in the 3rd Arrondissement is wonderful. David who helps curate frag lines like Frapin, Byredo, Ella K and 19-68 owns it. We met while he was in Sydney with Frapan. I wanted to see his store and say hi. It is freaking cool, we were looked after by Clara the Press Officer and felt very special. David came down on his motor bike and then took us out for vegan drinks. Vegan drinks are DELICIOUS!

I was undecided between two scents from 19-69. Kasbah won out because I could see myself reaching for it more often. I wish that I’d purchased both. Rainbow Bar spoke to me also with its green and spicy sea air feel.

Oriza L Legrand

Oriza L Legrand at 18 rue Saint-Augustin in the 2nd Arrondissement is a Paris Perfume Shopping must see also. A resurrected house featuring recreations done with modern materials and new fragrances. The guys have created a shop front with old world charm. I love their scents too. This visit Scott was the read shopper, buying Reve d’Ossian. I purchased some soaps (which are gorgeous). If you spend over €100 worldwide shipping is FREE! So we had ours sent.

Where would YOU want to see and sniff most in Paris?
Portia xx

PS: I’m away and off the grid for a couple of nights with my mate Anna-Maria. When I get back on Saturday I will respond to your messages, please come back then and check so we can converse. Thanks. XXX

  • Kathleen says:

    Such a pleasure reading your Paris fragrances experiences Portia! You made wonderful purchases and I’m sorry about your Guerlain experience but I’m proud of your strength to walk away. Liquide Perfume Bar and Le Bon Marche look amazing! I too have knocked over a display, it was in a home kitchen store and glasses broke. It was a day that I was out of sorts (my sweet dog had recently passed away and my hands were probably still shaky), totally my fault, and the SA was extremely put out. I apologized profusely, and attempted to help clean up, ended up walking out because of her hostile reaction. C’est le vie.
    I’ve ordered some samples of Eric Buterbaugh, looking forward to them!
    Best wishes to you and Jin for a fabulous wedding day and future together! xoxo

    • Portia says:

      Isn’t knocking over a display horrifying Kathleen? What a cow that SA who gave you grief about it. Mine was much nicer, though I could tell she wasn’t thrilled.
      Hopefully you like the Eric Buterbaugh frags. I think he has done some lovely work.
      Portia xx

  • anicasunny says:

    Paris was a dream come true for me Portia, the Serge Lutens, the Chanel Rue Cambon trying to buy lippie ….and quadruple spritzing No 22 on ourselves!!! to Guerlain …omg ..and Iunx, which I had never heard of!! David from liquides was cute and interesting. Scott Michael Tara Francesca Margot and all the international perfume lovers, made it super fun.

    • Portia says:

      How bloody lucky are we Annicasunny to travel the world and enjoy everything it has to offer?
      Thanks for being my travel buddy.
      Portia xxx

  • tiffanie says:

    Portia, thanks a million for sharing your perfume shopping, all of the good, the bad, and the broken! Your photos and commentary gave me a smile this morning. I’m still thinking about David and his motor-bike, vroom-vroom.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Tiffanie,
      David is a freaking stunner. He is a boxer in his spare time, has gf and babies and is badass AF!
      Portia xx

  • hczerwiec says:

    If they treated a rockstar like you that way at Guerlain, what hope is there for me, if I ever get to Paris? I wasn’t clear — did you not end up buying your wedding perfume? I’m sorry that experience got so tainted!

    • Portia says:

      Ha! Maybe a pub at the end of the street folk singer!
      Naah didn’t buy the wedding frag but it’s no biggie. I think there might be some options in the collection.
      Portia xx

  • ElizabethC says:

    Wait a minute! Shalimar TEA!!!!!!! 🙂

  • LisaInDenver says:

    Portia, thank you SO much for your impressions of Eric Buterbaugh’s 1947 (Dahlia), as I have been desperate for any reviews, and yours is the first I’ve found. I’m so thrilled by your enthusiasm for it! Regal Tuberose is my HG Tuberose, and I also adore Sultry Rose (and I’m not even a rose person at all!). Those are the only two I own so far (Apollo Hyacinth and Celestial Jasmine have been on my wishlist for a while now). 1947 sounds divine, and I am definitely going to have to track down a sample (alas, Surrender to Chance doesn’t yet stock it).

    Your experience at Guerlain is exactly the thing that intimidates me the most when I think about perfume shopping – heck, shopping, period – in Paris. Good for you for showing them the back of your head by walking out! I was on the receiving end of that level of ‘service’ from SAs at a Washington, DC-area Saks many years ago, and to this day, have never given that company one more penny of my hard-earned money. Pffftht.

    All good things to you and Jin for your forthcoming wedding…and beyond!

    • Portia says:

      Hey LisaInDenver
      Yay!! Another Buterbaugh fan!
      I knew I should have gone straight to Francoise. If ever you go in she is the petit, raven haired, elegant woman downstairs.
      Portia xx

  • March says:

    Ugh, Guerlain, they can be such twats. And I say that with a bottle of Mitsouko tattooed on my back… sigh. But the REST of your trip sounds fantastic and I would have loved to be running around with you, I bet you had a blast!!!

  • Cyndi says:

    I am SO sorry to hear about your experience at Guerlain! I always dreamed that if I ever got to Paris that would be the very first place I’d visit. Forget about the Eiffel Tower! I love almost all of their women’s classic fragrances, and I’m very disappointed that you had that experience. So glad you were treated better at the other stores and got some wonderful perfumes.

    • Portia says:

      Hey Cyndi,
      It was the weirdest vibe up there. It never had been like that before. Aberration! When I went back to buy the tea they were lovely
      Portia xx

  • grizzlesnort says:

    Please enter me in your draw! After all of that you’re doing a giveaway, right?! Aw, come on…. 😉

  • Musette says:

    OMG. All I can say is I wish I’d been there with you!

    Oooh! and I’ll say ‘I feel yer paaaiiin’ on the busted candle. Yonks ago, I took out an entire display at Barneys – luckily it was just a mannequin but OMG! The noise! The DRAMA! I, too, was mortified – until the SA snapped ‘oh, ferfuckssake! who CANTILEVERS a fucking handbag on a mannequin like that! Stupid display people’. I will forever love him for that (and he was right – they’d used the handbag as a blasted fulcrum, not realizing (or caring) that the first person to lift the handbag would send the whole thing crashing to the ground) xoxoxo

    • Portia says:

      OMG Musette! What s freaking mortification
      Were you parylised with embarrassment?
      Portia xx

  • Tara C says:

    Shame about Guerlain – Françoise was there and she couldn’t serve you herself? I’ve always been treated wonderfully by her. At least you had a great time at IUNX. Not sure if they make candles any more but I still have one of their Papyrus candles that is incredible. Splash Forte is lovely. Rêve d’Ossian is great too. It doesn’t last long on me so I just wear it to bed.

    • Portia says:

      Hey TaraC,
      By the time we had gone back down the stairs to Francoise I had the shits.
      Never did try an IUNX candle. They may still have them.