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18 Place des Vosges – My Paris address

Image- - Place des Vosges, Paris - 29 July, 2005, AINo

I once read in a travel book that Place des Vosges is the most beautiful square in Paris. Oh yeah? What about Place Dauphine? Or Palais Royal? Oh, let’s not quibble – PdV is pretty special and like most things Parisian, is dripping with history.

The oldest planned square in Paris, PdV was built on the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles, one of the royal residences. When Henri ll was wounded during a jousting match there and died, his wife  Catherine de Medicis, moved to the Louvre and had the palace destroyed. Henri lV (the same guy who planned Place Dauphine BTW) built PdV on the site between 1605 to 1612.

History aside, on second thought, PdV might just be the most beautiful square in Paris. Meticulously maintained gardens and fountains, house fronts that all have the same red brick design, charming shops and the fact that children now play in those gardens do give it a serene beauty along with a sense of belonging in the present.

One of the pleasures of PdV is shoppng, especially for perfume at Christian Louis’ shop at number 18 Place des Vosges.

Christian Louis is a perfumer from the Basque country. He has a number of shops in that part of France as well as the one in Paris. His 18 Place des Vosges is named for the PdV address and is a beautifully crafted floral.

It opens with a blast of Tuscan Iris and bergamot. As these first notes recede, lavender appears along with a tobacco note from coumarin, which gives it an interesting warmth. In a while 18 Place des Vosges develops into a soft, gorgeous, scent that stays close to the skin, subtle but sophisticated.

The wafting scent is like spending a little time in the Place – the smell of flowers from the gardens in the morning before the sun has had a chance to warm things up too much. Then, you catch a whiff of tobacco from people who come to sit, smoke and read Le Figaro before moving on to their next appointment. 18 Place des Vosges has all the charm, and chic beauty of the square it is named for.

18 Place des Vosges is listed in our Decant Store. Decants are $5.00 for 1 ml.

Walking to school and sliding out of the sea

Two scents that take me to specific places (and in one case, time) are Black March by Christopher Brosious and Sel Marin by James Heeley. Black March transports me back to about Grade 6 in smalltown New Brunswick on that day when winter turns to spring. I'm traipsing along the path through the field that led from my street to the school yard, and the snow has melted enough in the sun that the earth underneath is softening and there's that smell of cold mud, last fall's rotted down field grass and new shoots of grass just getting ready to push its way through. It smells like possibility. Sel Marin takes me to the shore, at the end of a long hot summer's day, where I've been in and out of the water. I'm salt- and sunscreen-coated, so there's a layer of ready-to-exfoliate stickiness there that I don't really want to wash off, because it smells of salt and sweat and sunscreen and sunshine. It smells of the kind of perfect summer day, lazy and languid and liquid. Just lovely!

Re: Walking to school and sliding out of the sea

Oh, what tender, sweet memories - thank you for sharing them!
My family is from the East coast as well and Sel Marin puts me in mind of the times when visitors from Newfoundland would come to stay with us. I loved when they would open their suticases and the smell of  salty sea air would escape - oh, oh, oh!