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When you think of France, you probably think of the food, wine, fine leather goods, and maybe even luxury perfume. While in Paris, we visited the Fragonard Parfumeur and Museum. Here, we toured their museum for free and learned about the history of Fragonard and French fragrances. Fragonard Perfume Museum is located right around the corner from the Opera House in Paris, so it’s centrally located and easy to find! If you’re looking for something to do other than the highlights of Paris, visit Fragonard Parfumeur for an off the map Paris experience!
Fragonard Parfumeur: Unique Things to Do in Paris
Practical Information for Visiting Fragonard Parfumeur Museum in Paris
In 1926, Eugène Fuchs a young businessman decided to open his own perfumery, Parfumerie Fragonard, in the French Rivera town of Grasse. Fuchs named his business after the famous Grasse-born painter, Jean-Honoré Fragonard, as a tribute to the town of Grasse and to the arts.
The museum shows visitors how the raw materials for perfume are extracted, produced, and formulated into perfumes. They also discuss the bottling process, labeling, and the nose behind the perfume! You get to see antique labels, bottles, and storage vessels.
Address: 3-5 Square de l’Opéra-Louis Jouvet, 75009 Paris, France
Metro Acess: Opera (lines 3, 7, 8), Madeleine (12, 14), Havre-Caumartin (9) Saint-Lazare (13)
History of Perfume
Egyptians were responsible for the origin of perfume over 2000 years ago. It was used for fragrance ceremonies and for daily wear. Over time, it’s production and uses expanded to the Persians, Romans, and Greeks. At this point in history, perfumeries were beginning to appear as seen in archeological remains. From the Renaissance onward, perfume was used for a variety of purposes from replacing showers to waking women up after fainting from tight corsets!
Just as the use of perfume has changed over time, the perfume itself is made to have the scent change over time. A perfumer is like a musician, they must be able to distinguish the different scent “notes” they want in their perfumes and how those scents will blends as they are worn.
Learn more about the history of perfume from the Perfume Society!
Perfume vs. Eau de Toilette
Perfumes are ranked by their concentration of aromatics and oils. Eau de Toilette is the lowest concentration while perfume is the highest. Typically the price difference between Eau de Toilette and true perfume is also an indication. Because of the concentration differences, you apply perfume and Eau de Toilette differently. You can basically shower yourself in Eau de Toilette since the scent won’t last as long due to the low concentration, while for perfume, you wear it around your neck, elbows, and wrists. But don’t rub it on, tap it. The rubbing motion can generate heat and disturb the scents.
Since perfume is so highly concentrated, it needs to be stored properly. It needs to be sealed from light and heat. By protecting it from the environment, you can keep perfume for years!
Testing Perfume Scents
After our tour of the museum, we tested some perfumes. Did you know? Smelling coffee grounds isn’t the real way to clear your nose? Smelling your own scent by smelling your skin is the best way because of your scent in neutral to your nose!
Interestingly, perfume and Eau de toilette are so expensive mostly because of the branding and marketing of the product. After our tour, we had the opportunity to purchase true perfume, at the price without the branding. We were able to get 5 bottles of 30mL perfume for about 100 Euro, which would retail at over 300 Euro! We loved visiting the museum because it was a great alternative thing to do in Paris!