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A Perfume Shop on a Rainy Day in Paris

Christine Curavo

There is a small alleyway in Paris called Rue du Bourg Tibourg where a savvy traveler can find an unforgettable perfumery called L'Artisian Perfumeur located at number 32. I found this unique shop quite by accident many years ago when I was caught in an unexpected downpour without an umbrella.

As the story goes, L'Artisian Perfumeur was founded in 1976, which is not all that long ago, but it had a different story than so many other brands.  First of all, they referred to their scents as a "movement" where exclusive niche fragrance houses became "inspired by nature and a desire to do things a little differently." I didn't know that when I first ducked into the tiny shop, but came to know it later on. The walls were painted a glorious kelly green that year.

A young woman greeted me as I walked through the door, and though pretended to look for a gift, I was really just trying to get dry.  It soon became obvious I was wandering around the shop waiting for the rain to stop with no intent to buy.  The silence between us became awkward until I finally expressed interest in a colorful set of glass viles. Her face lit up and she decided to close the store.  She locked the door, pulled down a window shade and said, "please, have a seat." 

I was astonished with this sudden turn of events and couldn't imagine what she had in mind.  Then she held one of the viles in her hand and whispered, "these are memories. Let me show you."  She grabbed a scarf and blindfolded me.  

Then she gently guided my nose and offered the first scent. It was unlike anything I knew, yet it was familiar at the same time. She said, "this is the first day of school." And all of a sudden, I was transported back through time to the first grade.  The scent was that of a plastic pencil folder from when I was young—a combination of pencil lead, plastic and a new eraser. I was in awe. 

The next scent was equally perplexing.  Again, it was also familiar, yet I couldn't place what it was.  The minute she said, "here is your after school snack,"  I knew it at once—the aroma of gingerbread cookies and milk—back to childhood again. Things got more interesting when she introduced me to "the first day of summer." I was propelled back to my teenage years in Montana and the musty smell when I opened the door to my grandmother's attic.

At least two hours passed before we noticed the rain stopped. I had been hypnotized by the afternoon events where I learned the magic of scents and how they held lifetime memories. I wanted to buy one. I was inspired to take something home—knowing it would be the key to my memory of the woman, green walls, and Paris—I chose an Amber Ball.

Little did I know the glazed terracotta sphere with the unusual scent was to become the signature home scent for L’Artisan Parfumeur—a best seller even today.


It is a hand carved ball that combines vanilla, patchouli, tonka bean, benzoin, and incense to create a warm and unforgettable scent. I keep it on my desk at work and sure enough, every time I hold it in my hand, I remember that rainy day in Paris.

You can find this Amber Ball on the L’Artisan Parfumeur website. It is an extraordinary gift.


P.S.  If you can't get to Paris for a while, but would like to find a "memory" scent for your holiday home, try our Spruce Room Diffuser—you will be amazed how you remember the happiness of the holidays.





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