We owe the Perfume museums to the perfume company Fragonard, which takes its name from Jean-Honoré Fragonard, , the famous 18th Century painter born in Grasse, a small town in the South East of France, and the capital of the perfume industry.
Spread over two sites in Paris, these museums invite you into the world of perfume.
The perfume museum, Rue Scribe in Paris
Located in rue Scribe, opposite the Opera Garnier (Paris Opera house), this beautiful town house is home to the Perfume Museum.
In a beautiful interior of romantic stuccos, painted ceilings, parquet flooring, fireplaces and chandeliers, you can explore one of the largest private perfume collections, including various objects dating from antiquity to the start of the 20th Century.
Theatre-Musée des Capucines in Paris
To get a deeper understanding of the world of perfume, we recommend that you visit the theatre-Musée des Capucines.
This museum houses a miniature replica of a perfume factory. You will see wonderful copper distilling equipment from the 19th Century as well as a selection of the most beautiful bottles with tales to tell over 3000 years of perfume history.
You will discover how the perfume manufacturers found the best way to capture fragrances of the flowers, the plants and other natural compounds. The extraction and conservation techniques invented over the centuries will be explained in the theatre- Musée des Capucines during the guided tour.
A history of perfume
Perfume has been used by every civilisation since time immemorial. Fragrances were initially created as much for sacred and religious rituals as for everyday use, in healing, romance or simple for the joy of living in a perfumed environment.
During the Renaissance period, strong, heady perfumes were often used to mask the unflattering smells emanating from unwashed bodies. The middle of the 18th century was a pivotal era for perfume which marked the transition from very powerful perfumes to more delicate fragrances, presaging a return to everything natural. In the 19th Century, the perfume industry grew at an extraordinary pace, in line with the rest of industry.
In the 20th Century, the perfume manufacturers asked the best crystal houses, such as Lalique and Baccarat to create elegant perfume bottles, thereby helping to market the new perfumes with names which were suggestive of exotica (Mitsouko, Shalimar, etc.), states of mind (Scandale, l’Heure Bleue, etc.), or nature (Fleurs de Rocaille, Vent Vert, etc,).
In 1925, the most enigmatic of all perfumes was born: Chanel No 5. Other large haute-couture houses followed suit by creating their perfumes, which became regarded as essential complementary images to their couturier business.
Perfume notes… did you know?
As soon as you apply it to your skin, or an article of clothing, the perfume changes, successively releasing different perfume notes.
First comes the Top note. Although it is the most noticeable, these perfumes are the most volatile as they are made up of light, ephemeral molecules. As the top note dissipates, the Middle note surfaces. Depending on its composition, its perfume can last up to several hours. It is this that gives the main theme to the perfume. Then finally, the Base note appears. These are the lasting compounds which ensure that the perfume lasts over time, and it is they, that we can smell much later on our clothes.
Perfume Museum in Paris – Detailed information
- Musée du Parfum : 9 rue Scribe – Paris 9ème
- Théâtre musée des Capucines : 39, boulevard des Capucines – Paris 2ème
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