Thursday, July 03, 2008

An American Blogger In Paris: Visiting The Caron Boutique

Or: Luca Turin Was Right

While I was living in vintage heaven, something bad has happened to the house of Caron. It's not that I was completely oblivious. I knew that the house has changed hands, I've heard that scents were reformulated and I read Perfumes: The Guide, so I had a general idea that scents I used to know as lively and potent no longer smell masterpiecey. I just hoped Mr. Turin was being dramatic.

The store is pretty in a frou-frou way. Large colorful powder puffs, gilded mirrors, carved bottles and all kinds of lace-and-beads fashion accessories that don't make much sense. But you're not there for embroidered scarves. It's all about the urn perfumes: the precious juice in parfum concentration, elegant, rich and timeless.

I got the bad vibes before the first sniff. Two bored-looking and indifferent sales assistants who barely graced me with a glance, even though I was the only potential customer in the store. The ignored me completely, never bothered to ask a question or offer help and information. I didn't mind too much, as I like browsing and exploring by myself, but some attention wouldn't have killed me (or them).

I tried the parfums, as the EdT are easy enough to find elsewhere. I played with test strips and dabbed several on my skin and on my husband's. Some, like Tabac Blond, started nicely enough, even if not as strong and dark as I remembered. Others didn't even smell close to the vintage ones I own. I barely recognized Bellodgia. But it was the way the scents have developed (or not) that I found disturbing. They fell apart, and what remained on my skin felt unconvincing. And the worst part: Tabac Blond simply smelled bad.

The good news: no scrubbing needed. While I didn't like any of the perfumes I tried on, they didn't last beyond half an hour of a weird, pale floral debris.

Photo taken by the Blond. And, yes, that's really my hair.


  1. Yes, I made the same mistake during my last visit in Paris in April : I visited the Caron boutique as well... It was a huge and disturbing disappointment ! The two bored and quite clueless ladies helped only because my french husband forced them to - otherwise I could have spent the afternoon there without being asked a word ! On the other hand, their assistance with a powder wasn't really helpful... I still like my Farnesiana, which I bought some time ago - but I'm sad, sad, sad that obviously, "times they're a changin'" even at Caron. To the worse (worst...)

  2. Did you go to the shop on the avenue Montaigne? The service has been terrible there for years. I'm sorry to hear you confirm Luca and Tania's diagnosis...

  3. As Mr Bill would say "oh noooooooo!"

    So sad to read this...

  4. But... but... but.. it looks like so much fun. My palms get sweaty and my heart rate goes up just walking into a place like that. Shame on them for getting a girl's hopes up.

  5. This is sad (although your photo is very cute)...I was really hoping it wasn't going to be so.

    I am composing a mail to you, so check your inbox later on :-)


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