The City of Scents
The whiff of croissant from an early-morning patisserie, the floral gardens of the Tuileries, the luxe perfumeries that dot the Champs-Élysées…the scents of Paris are as heady as its style and culture. And while guidebooks may lead you to the Louvre and Notre Dame, we recommend starting with the stuff that’s right under your nose.
Where to Eat
It’s sensory overload at these shops and restaurants
La Dame de Pic
Not resting on her laurels with three Michelin stars, Anne-Sophie Pic (best known for Maison Pic in southeast France) is pushing the culinary limits with scent-inspired menus at her new Les Halles restaurant. Here, she’s teamed up with the chief nose from Japanese perfume-maker Takasago to create an innovative multi-course experience in a heavenly space. (They had us at “perfumed butter.”) Book ahead and opt for lunch to increase your odds and lower prices.
Du Pain Et Des Idees
A visit to this classic boulangerie smells like stepping into a jewelbox of buttery goodness. The founder Christophe Vasseur was voted best baker in Paris, so order enough for a full-fledged picnic--pain des amis, savory mini-pavés and l'escargot chocolat pistache. Worth every calorie.
Slow-braised meats, homemade terrines and surprisingly rich vegetables make this near-the-Louvre restaurant a must for French comfort food. Don't expect a grand-mere behind the café curtain, though. The contemporary bistro is run by a young culinary power couple.
What to Do
In between museums hit up these fragrant activities
Marche Aux Flowers
Work off those pastries with a stroll along the Seine and its riverside flower market. Dating back to the 1830s, the open-air stalls and glass pavilions brim with blooms and scents from roses, lavender and tulips. Come on Sunday and it doubles as an exotic bird market.
Paris by Mouth Tours
The definitive blog on the city's gastronomic scene, ParisByMouth.com, takes its expertise to the streets with food-focused tours through the most sweet and savory neighborhoods (The Latin Quarter, Marais and Saint Germain). Stop at historic shops for fresh baguettes, fromage and charcuterie along the way, and finish up at an intimate wine shop for an unforgettable tasting.
A French perfume that's perfectly matched to your preferences and body chemistry? Now that's a souvenir. Enter this Champs-Elysées mega-boutique and spa to indulge in the one-hour Guerlain scent experience: Working with a series of mood boards, natural materials and blind sniff tests, you'll come away with a creation for you and you alone.
Where to Stay
A stylish hotel with a signature scent
Just a few minutes from the Jardin des Tuileries and the Louvre, you'll find this boutique hotel known for its opulent, baroque suites, top-notch spa and signature scent--a mix of wood, wax and rum--crafted by noted perfumer Olivia Giacobetti. Want to bring a bit of your olfactory experience home with you? There's a fragrance shop in the lobby where you can stock up on sprays and candles.
What to Pack
Strutting the streets of Paris requires a bit of mystique--and eye protection. Bring your best Audrey Hepburn frames to cut the glare, and add some allure to your look.
Vivino Wine Scanner
Look, you’re going to be smelling--and tasting--a lot of great wines. Keep this nifty app at the ready so you can catalogue your favorites and order them later.