I am inaugurating a new column and in it, I will offer information about travel intineraries, promenades, and places that are perfume-related. The search for perfumes leads to travel in time and the discovery of new imaginary geographies that are enhanced by the spatial setting, the place in which we may find ourselves. Oftentimes we may think that the experience of a fragrance is limited to the liquid art form itself, then perhaps sometimes extending our perception to the bottle in which it is contained as the architectural form that gives shape to fluidity and transiency incarnate. But we cannot stop there,...
for if, we become conscious of the influence emanating from one's physical environment and which impresses itself on our thoughts and emotions, then we become aware that the perfume, as an object to be seen, apprehended, and not simply inhaled, is contained in a room, a space ot its own.
At the same time, the scent will open up the confined limits of that particualr space and tear down the wall of that particular room, for we are transported elsewhere, while being irremediably present.
In the 17th century, special perfume drawing rooms were created to not only attract a clientele of perfume connoisseurs, but also to have them stop their steps and engage in the sensory plenitude of a reserved space dedicated to the cultivation of the fifth sense as well as to the visual, tactile pleasure of holding bottles and aesthetic contemplation. Conversations in these "Salons de parfums" were lively too.
Today, we can see a distant echo of that more complete, elegant, and insightful practice in the designs of a Maître Gantier & Parfumeur store or of an Annick Goutal store.
But we do not need to rely solely on a pre-designed architecture, we can also mentally compose that geography of desire, following paths, taking the road, meandering through the streets, and stopping at last in scented havens of our own choosing.
We may also stroll in gardens or near fields and in doing so associate promenades, spaces and scents more closely. We thus become connected to the world in ways richer and fuller, imagining and remembering and searching, always.
My scented address of the day is a store address:
Parfums de Capucine, 18, rue des Capucines, Paris 2ème. Tel: 01.42.96.02.46.
This store specializes in niche perfumes and hard-to-find vintage fragrances.