Coeur Joie by Nina Ricci {Ask Marie-Helene}



I'm hoping you can help me learn more about Nina Ricci's Coeur Joie. I think it was very important before 1960.
My friend is trying to find it, or something very much like it, for his wife's birthday. It is her all-time favorite.
Any help you can provide would be very much appreciated.
Thank you,


Hi Neal,

Thanks for a great question. I understand why your friend's wife considers Coeur Joie to be her all time favorite fragrance. It is a beautiful subtle perfume which combines soft flowers and woods in a rare fashion making it a very feminine scent with a discrete element of masculinity in it thanks to an understated element of dryness. The bottle by Marc Lalique is also exceptional....

Coeur Joie was created at the end of WWII, in 1946 and named so as to reflect the exhilaration the French experienced with the liberation of France. Its name means literally joyous heart and can also be an allusion to the expression "A coeur joie" which suggests a sense of happiness and passion that is able to express itself untrammelled.

The perfume was also created to boost the financial fortunes of the house of Nina Ricci which like many other fashion houses of that time had suffered from the material restrictions brought about by the war.

It was the house's first fragrance and was created by a famous woman perfumer of that time, Germaine Cellier. She actually collaborated with painter Christian Bérard and Lalique on the design of the flacon. She is the creator amongst others of Bandit and Fracas by Piguet, Vent Vert by Balmain, other masterpieces of 20th century perfumery. Robert Ricci, the son of Nina Ricci took an unconventional approach to the creation of Coeur Joie proposing the idea of creating a soft and understated green floral at a time when perfumes with deep heavy sillages were most fashionable.

Coeur Joie has notes of bergamot, hyacinth, gardenia, violet, orange blossom, Oriental rose, jasmine, violet, and iris from Florence. It is classified as a floral aldehyde like Chanel no 5 due to a little fizzy Champagne facet to this type of floral perfumes. The iris in this composition is particularly beautiful and subtle and I would even say haunting. You can still find the perfume but it is pricey, the least expensive I have seen retails for $400.

If you are looking to replace it, I would say that this will be less than obvious as Coeur Joie offers a subtlety that is rare and a balance between softness and dryness that is unusual. It also manages to be discreetly luscious and green at the same time.

Nevertheless, I think your friend's wife might perhaps enjoy Heure Exquise by Annick Goutal which has green floral and powdery notes too but it is less subtle than Coeur Joie. Antilope by Weil also presents similar facets as those of Coeur Joie but the start is harsher although the German chamomille in it softens it in the drydown. L'Air du Temps by Nina Ricci has a delicious sillage but again it is not as understated and in fact I think that Heure Exquise is more similar to Coeur Joie despite the fact that the first one belongs to the same house. Another suggestion which may appear a bit counter-intuitive would be to try Cuir Ottoman by Parfum d'Empire. It is a leather scent that is remarkably subtle and offers a most beautiful powdery iris note, two characteristics that define Coeur Joie. It also has a delicious jasmine note in it that brings a delicate floralcy to the perfume. The dryness we want is brought here by a slightly smoky leather note.

There may be different reasons for liking Coeur Joie. If it is the dryness plus pepperiness one is craving Rive Gauche offers that, minus the high level of subtlety. If it is the elegance and femininity of it, then Arpège is one of the most beautiful floral aldehydes available, if not the most beautiful one, but it offers a richer and more exhuberant character than Coeur Joie. If one craves the powdery romanticism of Coeur Joie, then Ombre Rose by Jean Charle Brosseau might be an option.

At this point I think that your friend could also try Après L'Ondée by Guerlain (soft and romantic) and Calèche by Hermès (elegand and dry). I would urge her to try Cuir Ottoman which may offer the balance of characteristic she craves. Best of all, it actually smells not unlike Coeur Joie.



(My thanks to Violetnoir who sent me a rare decant of Coeur Joie) 



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21 Comments | Leave a comment

  1. Marie-Hélène, I believe Coeur Joie is still sold at the Nina Ricci flagship store on avenue Montaigne. My friend Tara had a sniff at it recently. I don't know if it's been tweaked or not though and I haven't had a chance to smell the original (waaaaaaaaaaay too expensive on eBay) but there you are.

  2. Carmen,

    Merci, je pense que cela va aider notre ami:)

    Thanks very much for your help. I'll try to give them a ring to see how much it is sold for and see if it's been reformulated or not:)

    Actually, I'm really happy about this news because I think that it's an exceptional perfume, the kind that makes you feel the world is a darker place without it.

  3. Well, it's actually the only known Germaine Cellier I don't own (she did scents for Elizabeth Arden but I couldn't find the references anywhere). I've managed to find Elysée 64-83 that she did for Balmain, but have no notes for it and haven't really had the time to analyse it. I also have some Fleeting Moment/ La Fuite des Heures, a Balenciaga with a jasmine thyme accord. Coeur Joie would be the final touch to the collection...

  4. A wish that will be simple enough to fulfill now:) Please do let us know what you think.

  5. My mouth watered through this entire review. Another whole world of fragrance I have never visited. And that bottle is unbelieveable. Thank you.

  6. We are here to make good mouths water, LOL.

  7. Nina Ricci start making Coeur Joie, Fille d'Eve, Capricci again and it sales in Nordstrom or any other store who caring Nina Ricci Perfumes. It retails for $300- 0.5 Ml pure parfum in Lalique bottle.
    I'm thinking to buy bottle for my self.

  8. Nina Ricci start making Coeur Joie, Fille d'Eve, Capricci again and it sales in Nordstrom or any other store who caring Nina Ricci Perfumes. It retails for $300- 0.5 Ml pure parfum in Lalique bottle.
    I'm thinking to buy bottle for my self.

  9. Thank you Blonde, I wouldn't know that because believ it or not Nordstrom hasn't come to Boston yet. We're awaiting them with eagerness. Thanks for the tip!

  10. You can call them up and order directly from Nordstrom .
    I spoke with Bill earlier today and he was so nice and even promise to send me some other samples with the order. The phone number is 800/884 7818.

  11. Marie Helene,
    Do you know if L'air du Temps by Nina Ricci is still made in a solid perfume compact?
    For sentimental reasons, I would like to obtain one. My sister, who has passed away, used this years ago.
    Thank you for your help.

  12. I am interested in l'air du temps solid perfume

  13. Wow! Your web site is helpful. It very impressive. Enjoyed the visit!

  14. Cool website! Nice site, very nicely done. Keep up the great work. Thanks much!

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  17. Excellent website. This will be my first time visiting. Very impressive. All the best!

  18. Could you please tell Beth [12/12/06 and 2/4/07 posts] that I have the solid compact she is seeking.
    It has been opened but not used. The scent certainly is memorable and I understand why she would like to have it.
    Thank you,
    Beth D.

    Beth D.
    • I will try to find her email

      Chant Wagner
  19. I have been trying to find the solid L'Air du Temps perfume also. I wish they would come out with it again. It is great for carrying in one's purse. But I haven't seen it in a few years. It came out one year as a Christmas special.


    • May your wish be heard. Last year for Christmas, there were many solid perfumes that came out and there seemed to be a trend.

      Chant Wagner

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