Unravel fragrances mysteries at Le Grand Musée du Parfum in Paris

A multi-sensory experience beyond compare

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Guillaume de Maussion – Museum Director and co-founder (Source: le Parisien)

Located on 73 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (Paris), emblematic street for the French luxury and art de vivre, Le Grand Musée du Parfum opened on  the 16th December 2016. It took Guillaume de Maussion and his team 2 years to complete this colossal project. This project has been supported by some key actors of the fragrance industry such as the French Syndicate of Perfumery (SFP) and International Flavors & Fragrances Inc.

The museum incorporates state of the art technologies offering a multi-sensory experience to its visitors. Inside this 19th century mansion (former headquarter of Maison Christian-Lacroix), you are introduce to the three mains chapters of perfume history. During the visit you smell around 60 fragrance raw materials.

Discover the tales of iconic raw materials and fragrances

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I have been working in the fragrance industry for quite some time and I have to say, I learned a lot during this first part of the visit. Perfumery is an ambassador of French culture and I was delighted to find out more about its relationship with French historical figures. From Napoleon heavy cologne consumption to Marie-Antoinette affection for Eau de Roses and Eau de Violette.  During this first part of the visit, you are invited to smell iconic raw materials, some cologne  and Kyphi the first fragrance ever created by man. On the picture above, you have one example of interactive system allowing you to smell fragrances or raw materials.

For the fans of vintage and ultra-vintage, you can admire antique perfume bottles. This photo below was taken by Irene de Rosen.

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Source: Telegraph.co.uk , Credit: Irene de Rosen

Engage your senses in the scents garden

This part of the visit was quite fun. As you wander through this lovely scented garden, you are welcomed by key raw materials  (rose, jasmin, patchouli, sandalwood..) perfumers use to create their bespoke fragrances. On the left picture, you have these little balls levitating in the air like fragrance droplets. Inside of every single one of them hides a secret fragrance ingredient waiting to be smelled . As you smell it a mysterious voice coming out of the ball tells you more about it.  The picture on the right was like a journey full of memories. Each bell lights up as you get close to it, you can smell various evocative odors like lavender. I really loved the designed of this room, I felt transported on a cloud.

I didn’t talk about all the things waiting for you to be discovered. I feel like you need to explore them yourself.

A dialog with a perfumer

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Jean-Claude Ellena – Perfumer at Hermès

This last part of the museum is dedicated to the art of the perfumer. Different perfumers share their thoughts, creative process and their inspiration. Most of the perfumes we wear on a daily basis are the result of the perfect combination of hundreds of different olfactive notes the Perfumers played with like a pianist. I had the opportunity to work with perfumers and I always found mesmerizing  their ability to identify raw materials in fragrances with such precision.

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