Scents and the City

Every city has a scent: an essence that is so descriptive that one single whiff can whisk you away to a distant memory. I first visited Paris when I was 16, and I also made my first purchase in the airport Duty Free shop. Feeling very sophisticated and glamorous, I chose Acqua Di Gio by Giorgio Armani. Not very French, but the advertisement of the man and woman, tan and tousled on a sandy beach instantly drew me in. Sixteen years later, and that scent still reminds me of the first time I spotted the Eiffel Tower.

Now thirty-something, I live in Paris, and I still have a fascination with matching scents with cities. This time, I needed something elegant, alluring, something that would encapsulate the glamour that I feel living in the City of Light. Basically I wanted sun drenched walks along the Seine, flowers blossoming in the Tuileries Gardens, and a whimsical sense of joie de vivre contained within one pretty little bottle. I found it in the form of Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet. Aside from being appropriately French, Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet combines orange blossoms, peony and white musk; which creates a fragrance so feminine and bewitching that when I wear it I feel like a 1920s film star—even if I am just dashing to the boulangerie for a baguette. I already know that years from now, one spritz will transport me to the wonderful, romantic time that I lived in a cozy apartment in Montmartre overlooking the Sacré Coeur Cathedral.

It’s an interesting fact that we have 100 percent smell recall after one year, but only 30 percent sight memory after three months. My habit is vindicated: perfume is the best souvenir after all.

Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet, aka France in a bottle, can be found at Sephora for $75.

Photos by Leslie Patrick