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.

5 comments:

  1. lady jane greyJuly 04, 2008 8:43 AM

    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...)

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  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...

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

    So sad to read this...

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  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.

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  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 :-)

    ReplyDelete

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