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Find Your Scent in the Marais


A new walking tour takes visitors on an aroma-filled adventure.

Most walks in Paris focus on what you can see, like elegant historical buildings and charming city gardens. After all, there’s so much for your eyes to feast on!  But what about your other senses? For that, Paris Muse guide Madeline Bobo created a new walking tour designed for the pleasures of your nose. On Find Your Scent in the Marais, Madeline leads her visitors on an olfactory adventure through the world of perfume. And along the way, they also learn about their own unique fragrance identity. We asked Madeline to tell us more.

Q: What do you enjoy most about helping people discover their signature scents?

A: I love witnessing people’s excitement when they encounter a new fragrance, and see them drawn to a scent that truly inspires them. Most people aren’t taught to develop their sense of smell growing up, so it’s a pleasure to bring this new awareness to them. It’s also fascinating to hear the stories people share when a certain fragrance ignites a forgotten memory. Being a part of this intimate interaction is such a gift.

The Marais is the ideal place to explore France’s special relationship to perfume culture.

Q:  How did France become a center of perfume making?

A: Since the 1700s, France has been the unrivaled epicenter of perfume crafting. This legacy endures, upheld by generations of skilled “noses” who perpetuate time-honored techniques. But France not only preserves its traditions, it also propels the artistry of perfumery forward into the future. With the development of technology and synthetic ingredients beginning in the late 19th and 20th centuries, perfumers in France could make more versatile perfumes, and fragrances slowly became available to the masses. Still, the old traditions rooted in expertise endured. Over generations, French perfumers have developed the main perfumery techniques such as enfleurage, distillation, and maceration, which contribute to the country’s reputation for producing such high-quality fragrances. France also enjoys accessibility to natural ingredients, especially from places like Grasse, where the fields of jasmine, rose, and lavender are a veritable haven for perfumers!

Madeline’s new tour begins with a personal consultation to discover a visitor’s unique fragrance identity

Q: Your new tour explores the chic neighborhood of the Marais. Why have so many niche perfume brands chosen that location for their boutiques?

A: Several niche perfume brands have strategically positioned themselves in the Marais, to take advantage of its eclectic atmosphere and its reputation as a hub of creativity. Historically, these types of brands were not “meant to be found” easily. Even today, they remain exclusive in one way or another. Their philosophy is intentional, to not become a household name or global brand. Many of these niche perfumes are meant to be discovered by a discerning clientele looking for something unique that reflects their individuality. The perfumes we explore on this tour are mostly available only in stand-alone boutiques or online, not in shopping malls or large beauty retailers like Sephora. By emphasizing authenticity, craftsmanship, and exclusivity (what the French call artisanal) they resonate with the Marais’s avant-garde innovative spirit.

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