Fragrant memories.

My darling daughter taught me a valuable lesson recently. Not on purpose, you understand. Like many things that happen to me, it started with an accident.

To begin the tale, I need to backtrack a bit to this Spring. In Paris, on Rue Cambon stands the original Chanel boutique. I’ve spoken before of my love for Chanel, but this year was only the second time I’ve stepped inside the hallowed store and this time, I was shopping.

To shop in the Chanel boutique here is a wonderful experience. For those of us not fortunate enough for it to be a regular occurance, it truly is a thing of excitement. Above the store is the famous appartment of Mademoiselle Chanel herself, not to mention where the white-coated staff of Chanel work their magic each collection. For a very special glimpse into this world, take a look at the documentary series: Signe Chanel – Haute Couture Collection [DVD]: Signe Chanel: Film & TV. This Spring, I particularly coveted a black dress with deep pink camellias on it, which I subsequently saw Anna Wintour wearing, so I am pretty confident that I made a great (although imaginary) choice!

Anyway, one of the many things I am passionate about is fragrance, and I was fortunate enough on this occasion to purchase two wonderful new ones, from Les Exclusifs de Chanel, which are only available in a handful of places across Europe.

I’d spent a considerable amount of time, in a state of what can only be described as giddiness (so sophisticated) making my choices, ably assisted by the staff at Chanel, who clearly understood that this was not an everyday shopping trip for me (my outfit alone gave the game away) and were patient, kind and liberal with the free samples. Once I’d made my choice, I was then taken to a separate room to make my payment. There is nothing as crass as a cash desk in the Chanel store!

The wonderful fragrances (Bois des Iles and Cuir de Russie, for those fragrance fans out there) were safely taken home and worn on special occasions, or quite frankly whenever I needed a lift. Both heady, warm and very grown up, they offer the emotional reassurances you need to take on the world. If Bois des Iles were a person, she’d be a glamourous great aunt, who still smoked, wore cashmere and called everyone ‘darling’. I love it. Cuir de Russie feels like a more dangerous character, leathery, smoky and somehow dirty, but in a great way. If you are interested in fragrance, you need to seek these out, they’re incredible.

That is, they were incredible. Until my darling daughter smashed one of the bottles all over the wooden floor boards in my bedroom. After the initial upset, which I have to admit was very tearful, my husband was able to help me come to terms with it. Ok, I’m being melodramatic, I admit, but I have precious few luxury items these days, and loads of lesser perfumes all over the bathroom but it just had to be this one that was lost. Isn’t life just like that?

He reminded me that, although the fragrance was so very special, part of what had made it so was the memory of its purchase. A memory which I remember every detail of. A memory which still makes me smile, brings back that giddiness and which I will have forever. It helps of course, that the bedroom now has the scent of that memory soaked into it, so I get a reminder each time I walk in. It helps that I still have a teeny, tiny amount of the perfume left for when I really need that grown up help. And it helps that I am going to make a new memory by saving for a replacement bottle to buy next year in Rome. But what is really important is that I was given a little reminder that memories are more important than material goods, however beautiful they may be.


6 Responses to “Fragrant memories.”

  1. I just wanted to say thank you for your lovely comments on my blog! And what a lovely post this is – I love how you’ve described the experience of buying the perfumes (and how beautiful and special the Les Exclusifs are – I adore my Gardenia one). And although I know how heartbreaking it is to lose a treasured piece of Chanel (I had my beloved 2.55 bag stolen in London last year and was absolutely heartbroken – partly for it’s expense, and partly for it’s sentimentality, being the only thing I bought myself with my inheritance when my mother passed away), but your husband is absolutely right about the memories being the important part.

    P.S. Also love your 35:35 challenge!

    Briony xx

    • Thank you so much for your comments, it means a great deal that you have visited the site. I cannot imagine how heartbreaking it must have been to lose such a treasured and sentimental piece of Chanel. I do hope you have managed to replace it, and the memories will remain, like you say, the important part.

      Liz xx

      PS 35:35 challenge is feeling like a massive undertaking at the moment, might have been a silly idea!

  2. My pleasure – always love to learn a bit more about my lovely readers!

    And yes, finally managed to replace it at Christmas (went on a very big spending diet so I could just save for that, and benefited from a nice duty free discount by buying it at the Heathrow boutique on the way back to Australia for a visit).

    And doesn’t sound like a silly idea at all – what a great way to get motivated to do all these things you’ve always wanted to, but might not have had a reason/incentive to do otherwise.

    Briony xx

  3. Hi – decided to pop by and check your site out! What an amazing memory this sounds like – it makes me feel like I’m watching this in a film. Very detailed and lovely (I must admit I am massively jealous of the experience). I’m sure this will be a cherished memory forever, long after the scents are gone.

    Slightly off topic – I’ve been reading a bit about the “scanner” thing and it seems to sum me up pretty well too. I’ll be adding you to my daily reads, and I look forward to seeing more from you!

    • Hello! Always nice to meet another potential scanner. I recommend you have a look at Barbara Sher’s books, they’re really illuminating on the subject and great at helping you make practical plans.

      Thank you for your lovely message about the post too – it is one of my best memories, and I’m hoping to create more to add to it (one day….)

      Bye for now – you’re on my list of reads too, so the feeling is mutual!


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