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Richard Nahem's Paris Perfume Shops

June 25, 2010 By: Richard Nahem


Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido


Richard Nahem, an ex-New Yorker living in Paris, leads private insider tours showing visitors the Paris most of them never see on their own (, and also writes a popular insider's blog

Coco Chanel practically invented the modern day perfume in 1921, giving millions of women the chance to wear Chanel without buying an expensive couture suit. French perfumers and fashion houses have always been in the forefront of innovative scents since then, creating iconic perfumes such as Joy, Poison by Christian Dior, Opium by Yves St. Laurent, Nina Ricci, Angel by Thierry Mugler, and Arpege. Here are two modern Parisian perfumers making exclusive scents.

Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido

French born Serge Lutens has been the creative director of Shiseido cosmetics since 1980 and released his first fragrance in 1981, Nombre Noir. After the smash success of Nombre Noir, Lutens opened Les Salons du Palais Royal Shiseido in 1992 in the chic, upscale Palais Royal.

The stunningly decorated shop is hand painted with shades of purple and pale orange and has the allure of an alchemist’s lab. You can smartly sample the intense perfumes in sleek crystal bottles by dipping long white cardboard sticks into the bottles rather than spraying them all over. Lutens has designed an exclusive set of fragrances just for the Paris boutique along with his other best-selling perfumes. The shop will even personalize your bottle with your name or your initials on the label, so you will have an authentic souvenir that you can show-off and say it is only sold in Paris. 

Jardins de Palais Royal
142 Galerie de Valois, 1st arr.

Maison Francis Kurkdjian

After years of inventing top perfumes for Jean Paul Gaultier, Lancôme, and Elizabeth Arden, Francis Kurkdjian decided to strike out on his own. He has opened a small, whimsical shop near the Place Vendome with bespoke perfume, where he sees clients by appointment only. He will conjure up just the right scent for you with his magic kit of over 200 essences for a mere 8,000 euros. But if a custom-designed fragrance is too time-consuming and costly for you, the shop has scintillating, ready-to-wear perfumes. His Lumiere Noir is a heady mix of rose and earthy patchouli and Cologne for the Morning is a soft, powdery combination of Bergamot from Calabria, lavender from Provence, and Orange Flower from Tunisia. On a more fun note, the shop has a perfumed leather bracelet with a monogrammed clasp and bottles of perfumed bubbles to blow in flavors of pear, cold mint, or cut herbs. 

5 rue Alger, 1st arr.


Maison Francis Kurkdjian


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