C’est un vase rempli de parfums

Cartier parfumsLately, I’ve been telling you about some examples of French luxury goods – cognac, shoes, and pianos. One of the ultimate centers of ultimate luxury is la place Vendôme in the heart of Paris. Home to the Ritz hotel and lined with jewelry boutiques that cater to the highest end of the market, it’s also the location of le Salon des parfums de Cartier. It’s tucked discretely above one of the luxury boutiques, but access is only for a select few.

cartier-1Here, clients can have a custom-made perfume created for them. But you’d better not be in a hurry – the entire process takes almost a year. You’ll work closely with le nez, Mathilde Laurent, who will help you create a perfume that reflects your own personality and emotions. The price is just as exceptional as the location – 60,000 Euros for an exclusive creation. This does include two Baccarat crystal flacons trimmed in gold, three refillable atomizers, a travel pouch, and two 500 ml refills, all  presented in a red leather Cartier box, just like the ones used for their lovely jewelry, as in the top photo.

Laurent is just as elegant as her custom-made Flacon-sur-mesure-Cartier_600pxcreations. She studied chemistry and then continued her education at the prestigious Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, de la Cosmétique et de l’Arôme. She joined Maison Guerlain where she learned all there was to know about haute parfumerie blending rare essential oils to create some new classics. She refers to perfumes as “olfactory jewels.”

If a parfum sur mesure is beyond your budget, Laurent has also created five perfumes based on important hours of the day. The perfume flacons are labeled simply with the Roman numeral that corresponds to the hour of the day that inspired the contents. I’d like to try X – L’Heure Folle (Crazy Hour) that blends the scents of berries and violet, or maybe I – L’Heure Promise that is composed of fresh herbs and iris.

Cartier 2Laurent was inspired by Marcel Proust, who said, “Une heure n’est pas une heure, c’est un vase rempli de parfums, de sons, de projets  et de climats” (ooh urn eh paz oon ur, seh uhn vaz remplee duh parfuhm, duh sohn, duh prozjay, ay duh kleemah), which means “An hour is not an hour, it’s a vase full of perfumes, of sounds, of projects and climates.” How lovely is that!

51-snpN0W8L__SL75_The Perfect Scent: A Year Inside the Perfume Industry in Paris and New York

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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