Perfume has been a mystery for centuries, creation and olfaction remaining enigmatic to people even though 90% of French people wear fragrances daily according to the Fragrance Foundation.
In ancient civilizations, perfumes were made without alcohol or distillation, with fragrant oils and ointments, as well as « incense » which gives pleasant scents. Their ingredients were crushed, mixed and cooked together for a long time. In medieval times, the perfume industry declined. As the Crusaders returned from their distant expeditions to the Orient, they brought cosmetics and scents back with them. Arabs are credited with ancient knowledge of the subject. At the Age of Enlightenment, perfumery boomed in the 18th century. People abandoned animal scents in favor of more subtle creations, that is how Cologne was born. Through these ages, the perfume industry has collected more and more data about the scents.
Le Grand Musée du Parfum was purposely created to promote the perfume history and the art of olfaction. Set in Maison Christian Lacroix’s former headquarters, it has found its vocation: to present the heritage of perfume through art and to make the visitors get a multisensorial experience. The aim is not just looking at displays but to feel them through the smell and to discover how this sense is often underestimated. Throughout the visit of the museum, anecdotes are given to the visitor according to the section he/she is seeing, such as a rose that protecting itself with its smell and not its thorns.
Thanks to the 5 million olfactive neurons every human being has, visitors can test their nose and therefore to be aware of their smelling sense and to enjoy it through the different animations the museum is offering.
In a 1400 square-meter mansion on three floors, rue Saint Honoré, you will breathe the fragrance in all its forms through modern methods, in a total white decor.
In the Seduction Gallery, 7 stories of fictional or real couples are revealed, in which perfume plays a determining role, such as the story of Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. A vaulted room reveals perfumes with protective, curative or rejuvenating properties. Flasks illustrate the reconciliation of couture and perfume in 1930.
On the first floor, pears make it possible to inhale the smells and a bouquet of roses opens the door of perfume chemistry. This is the natural smell of the rose, consisting of 400 molecules and replaced by 3 elements of synthesis in the laboratory. You will find the connection amongst smells and feelings, how our memory remembers scents. Holograms guide you from its reception to the brain to that of the nostrils.
Travel through the Garden of Scents, which picks through presence sensors figurative perfumes. Test your olfactory memory on the Sofa of Confidences. Interactive terminals encourage you to play riddles, to recognize ginger, pepper or even horse. The 3rd floor is a tribute to the art of perfumery. You can take in hand one of the 25 spheres containing a raw material of perfumery. On screens, perfume masters respond to received ideas or questions that the public asks.
Origins, secrets of creation, the chemistry of odors, profession of perfumer, the perfume has now its museum in Paris. Through a fun and multisensory course, the museum offers the public to learn and test their olfactory abilities while having fun. Discover this modern and elegant place, located rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, in front of Le Bristol.
“A woman’s perfume tells more about her than her handwriting” Christian Dior
Manon LEPEU – Emma-Lou MARCQ – Charlotte PORTET – Laura TEAI
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