Blog post by Gwen
Photo: Pont des Arts, Paris - perfumeniche
I live with an architect who loves bridges. He’s fascinated with bridges of all kinds, like arched bridges, fixed bridges, covered bridges and, aqueducts. He’s tickled by ancient stone bridges, swoons over a lattice truss bridge, and more than once has been struck silent by the graceful power of the cables on a suspension bridge.
Over the years, we’ve had many discussions about which bridges we like and why. These discussions have sometimes gotten a bit heated. I remember a particularly lively discussion in a bar on a rainy day in Florence, over which was the better bridge: the Rialto or the Ponte Vecchio. That was the day we had to build a Bridge Over Troubled Water.
But there’s one bridge we both agree is our favorite in Paris - the Passerelle des Arts or Pont des Arts, the pedestrian bridge that links the Institut de France (a building many consider to be architecturally perfect) and the central square of the Louvre. Over the years, this charming wooden footbridge has come to have a special meaning for us. It’s the place we arrange to meet up with friends before going for a meal or a gallery together, it’s where we go if one of us is feeling blue, and if you are ever in Paris on New Year’s Eve, the Pont des Arts is the place to be.
The Pont des Arts is a beauty. Its scale is pleasing, you can feel the boards move under your feet when you walk on them, you can see the Seine below through the gaps between them and the views the bridge offers of Paris are, in my humble opinion, unparalleled. From the mid point facing west, you can see some of the Eiffel Tower. Turn to face east and you see the Pont-Neuf, Île de la Cité, and Notre-Dame.
We aren’t the only people who love The Pont des Arts. Back in 2008, people started loving it a little too much. Couples began writing or engraving their names and initials on padlocks and attaching them to the railings. Romantic gestures for sure, but over time the weight of all those locks caused part of the bridge to collapse. The panels on the bridge have now been replaced with glass and the lovelocks are gone and while I do miss their glittery presence, truth be told, I like the look of a less-cluttered Pont des Arts.
So, what does all of this have it do with perfume? In large part, it’s a rationale for a blind buy. Stay with me….
One of the reasons this blog was started was to offer people the opportunity to test fragrances before they buy them so that wasted money and tears of disappointment can be avoided. But when a Parisian perfume house called Ponts des Arts was launched last year, I knew I was going to buy one of their three inaugural fragrances sometime. At first, I just wanted the bottle with the name ‘Ponts des Arts’ on it and the gold cap that looks like the bridge. Then, when I learned that two of those fragrances were signed by Bertrand Duchaufour, later became sooner and I blind-bought À Ce Soir I could not be happier.
À Ce Soir opens with tangy lemon and fruity, floral green mandarin. Bamboo, green and earthy, starts to creep through the citrus fruits. A note of leather gives it a smooth sensuality before boozy rum makes an appearance and calls to mind another Duchaufour favourite, the long-gone Havana Vanille. Here the sweet, aromatic rum is warmed by spicy cinnamon. Blackcurrant bud adds a light, fruity, woodiness and along with woody/rosy faceted pink pepper, ushers in one of the most gorgeous floral hearts I have ever smelled: rich, erotic ylang-ylang and heady, narcotic narcissus gently brushed with powdery, vanilla-tinged orchid. Lentiscus, smells herbaceous, resinous and balsamic and it swirls through the flowers, giving them depth, making them even more voluptuous. The base is sweet from vanilla, amber, and Benzoin of Siam and tempered by earthy, green and woody vetiver.
The drydown is elegant and sophisticated, with a cozy sweetness and balsamy woodiness that are perfectly pitched, creating a come-hither quality that draws you close. It’s also as gorgeous on a man (the architect) as it is on a woman (his wife).
One of the things that makes À Ce Soir so beautiful and a pleasure to wear is the way it transitions from stage to stage so seamlessly, like crossing a bridge.
Check out À Ce Soir in our Shop.