Monday, July 19, 2010

A confession

I am traveling again.  Rather, I have traveled.  J'ai voyagé.  I am happy, the whole family is with me, we are adventuring.

So many things are right.  I am above the 45th parallel in the summer, I am staying in place for nearly two weeks so that I can soak up as much as I can of a new experience without falling prey to or imposing some sort of tourist whirlwind on the proceedings.  I am, for only the second time in my life, learning how my body responds to jet lag.  I am hyper aware of budget, just like when I traveled as a near-student; I am equally cognizant of when I toss it to the gutter as the locals sometimes do with their trash.  I am savoring every bite of fabulous food.  I am enjoying every sip of aperitif and every moment of light refracted through the atmosphere during the magic hours that suspend themselves over us at the start and especially end of each day.

A couple of things are desafinado.  I never learned this language.  I am doing my level best to gain traction as I go, because I would feel so much better if I had at least a rudimentary working ability to communicate.  Sometimes, 
lamento que yo no pudiera hablar el español.

  De temps en temps, je regrette que je ne puisse pas glisser en espagnol.

I wish I could slip into Spanish.  Just to show that I am not a self-centered American who doesn't care about bothering to learn any other languages.  (Or an American who was never given the opportunity, or whose "opportunity" was two lame years of a mock high school requirement.  Oh, wait...that was was college where I learned.  Anyway...)

...things are conversationally desafinado.  And, the other thing that is slightly out of tune...I have not yet run to the shrine, the altar, the Mecca, the whateveryoucallit.  Three days, and no visit to an olfactory temple.

Yes.  I am in Paris, and I have only pressed my nose to the glass of a Guerlain outpost on the day when all shops are closed.

I don't think that it's the age of the internets and swappage and sharing that has led me to this, a potential sacrilege among the devout, a potential revocation of any perfumista card I might have laid claim to.  My lack of homage is not a result of abundant sniff opportunity.  It has more to do with the dual realities of my broader life--interest in many things, and the logistics of sharing this experience with other folks who have their own agendas (and from whom it is more difficult to separate).

I am here for the whole enchilada...erm, the whole tortiere.  There have been fresh baguettes and croissants, pastis on the sidewalk, meanderings down boulevards, expeditions up constructions of wrought iron, boats on the Seine.  There will be exhibits, and mansion museums, and parks, and more food and more walking.

And yes, I am sure, there will be perfume.  Parfum.  But there is time.  First I wish to inhabit.

Meanwhile, let it be known that TDC de Sens et Bois is lovely on a moderate summer day in its upright posture gently cutting way, and Parfums de Rosine Poussiere de Rose is somehow sweeter.  Perhaps the barest hint of that which might be skank?  No, not really.


Ines said...

Ohhh! You're in Paris!
I wish I were there as well, but in the meantime, I'll enjoy your posts from there. :)

Musette said...

My French is horrible and I usually start out by telling people (in French) that it is horrible - after that, they are more than happy to speak in English. But I know what you mean - I remember being in Paris and having Germans come up, yammering in German, only to switch seamlessly into French. But as Bill Murray said in 'Stripes' "it's like going to Wisconsin" so they probably have more incentive to learn the language.

Don't worry about the perfume - perfume will be there when you are ready - in the meantime, enjoy your time with your famb.


sleeping dragon said...

In 2 weeks I'll be enjoying a trip to Paris. It will be my third time there and the first time traveling abroad alone! The other visits were all about seeing the sights and compromising with my companions-this time it's ONLY about perfume. None of my friends, relatives or aquaintances care about fragrance so I'm on my own. Actually I'm really looking forward to the freedom :)
Enjoy your time there, Paris is such a great city.

flittersniffer said...

Oh, how fabulous - I do know what you mean about having to respect the agendas of the whole family, and experiencing Paris on pretty much any level (except the industrial extremities with which I am equally acquainted) is a delight.

I have been visiting the city for work since the 80s, as French is technically my main qualification, though I work more in Germany nowadays. But I have only been there once for work AS A PERFUMISTA, and remember trekking back from the end of the RER line and rushing to branches of Sephora or anywhere still open to finish my day with a fragrant fix. Then for my 50th last year, I treated myself to three days' solo sniffing, which was almost too much, and became something of a military operation!

So I reckon you will absorb the best of Paris through every pore, however fixed or fluid the collective family agendas prove to be...

Check out 180 ans de creation in No 68. It is my new scented squeeze and sadly NOT available en Angleterre.

La Bonne Vivante said...

Have a blast!

ScentScelf said...

Ines, it would be a joy to meet you, in Paris or anywhere. But if you cannot join me, I shall indeed continue to update you with posts. :)

ScentScelf said...


Who was the German general in charge of the Axis forces here who "saved" Paris by not blowing up the bridges? A soldier came running into his chamber and asked the guy if he spoke German. "Probably better than you" goes the apocryphal reply.

Would that I could do a reasonable job of mangling either. I can speak relatively haltingly well about der zirkus in German, thanks to a book I had as a child, but take me away from the big top, and I'm doomed.

I'm not so worried about the perfume...but I did poke into a Sephora and did a double take when I saw a "les extraits de Chanel" display. Had to double take because there were plenty of bottles of No. 19 in edp and edt. They had a slew of Diors, too. Sephora France ain't your North American group Sephora. But then, blog traipsers knew this's just weird to fall into "Sephora mode" and then get a gander at what is actually there.

I moved on, though. It is not perfume time. Yet.

ScentScelf said...

Sleeping Dragon,

I have enjoyed very much a few "on my own" trips. I find them wonderfully healthy for me, and for the family that has to claim me as theirs. ;) I'm sure you will have a fabulous time.

And while there are compromises to be made, I am feeling very lucky, to be sure. Thank you for the good wishes; I am doing my level best to enjoy, indeed. So far, mission accomplished.

Thanks for stopping by!

ScentScelf said...


You've brought plastics to Paris, too? Your territory has ranged far and wide indeed. While I have not experienced the industrial extremities--wouldn't be unheard of for a gal with a spot in her heart for things forge and chassis and such--I just might go to the sewer museum. Seriously. It could be interesting. :)

You are right to point out that Paris can be enjoyed on many levels; today I did a LOT of walking, after a Major Museum Stop, and just took it all in. Took in the Metro, too; coming from the States, it is quite striking to see just how clean it is down there.

Those aren't two paragraph conclusions that go well together, are they?

Anyway, I KNOW about 180 Ans!!! Two decants for me so far. Love it. But then, I love Attrape Coeur, also. I am glad, in that nod across the way manner, to hear that you enjoy it, too. (Mumbles something to self about the misfortune of being reminded there is yet another something that can only be purchased here... ;) )

You want to go stand on the cliffs of Dover? I could hurl a bottle of the 180 your way. If Gertie could cross the Channel, surely there's some way to successfully lob a Guerlain.

ScentScelf said...

Bon Vivante,

Merci beaucoup! I shall. :)

flittersniffer said...

DOH!!!! Or should that be "Sacrebleu!" And "Oh la la, quel gaffe!" Of course you would know about 180 ans, because the USA and France are the twin bastions of Guerlain retailing. unlike the miserable selection with which we Brits must make do.

I am very tempted to stand on the cliffs of Dover, if you wouldn't mind practising your lobbing technique meanwhile with spare halves of baguette - or batards, even - which would simulate the requisite girth more correctly.

What district are you staying in, may I inquire? There are so many nice corners, most involving a complete disregard for "les tarifs".

flittersniffer said...

That would be "disregard" in your earlier sense of Gallic, gutter tossing insouciance.

: - )

Rose said...

How wonderful!! You are in Paris! have a glorious time- I just love walking around, and the pharmacies with all the weird stuff you can get no where else- and then, of course, the perfume, the opera house, the musee. I don't think not speaking French is too much of a problem- I always try but they just talk back to me in English as if to say you might be able to say a little but your accent is terrible!

Have a really super time xx