Last year my friend Corey, an American who married a French man and lives in France, told me about a perfume shop in Paris. “If you are in Paris again,” she said, “you MUST go there.” While there in October, I was on a mission to explore some of the parfumeries across Paris in search of the perfect fragrance for me, and I was determined to find the shop she told me about.
While walking along the streets of the lovely Marais in the 4th arrondissement of Paris, with address in hand I turned a corner and there it was. Across the Place du Marché Sainte-Catherine sat Marie Antoinette, parfums et senteurs d’exception — exceptional perfumes and scents. It wasn’t hard to miss with its cheery, bright red store front. The proprietor, Antonio, was standing in the doorway and welcomed me in. Take a look at their website here — although it’s in French, it will give you a sense of how how special it is.
I told him I was searching for a perfume that was perfect for me, and something that I wouldn’t find in the United States as I wanted it to be unique to me. Antonio immediately launched into a story about a church, and the doors opened and you could smell the incense, there were oranges on the ground from a nearby tree, and the scent of pine wafted through the air from the trees beside the church. Then he walked over to a shelf and selected a perfume and tested it on me to see if I liked it. He cleverly painted a picture of the place where many of the ingredients in that perfume came together. It was lovely, but was a little too sweet for my tastes, so we kept exploring.
Marie Antoinette is a tiny spot that has an ambience that captivates you the second you step through that bright red exterior. Antonio has created a cozy, welcoming little jewel to showcase an amazing selection of scents for women and men — it’s not stuffy or highbrow, and you just can’t help but have fun, especially with Antonio as your guide.
Antonio proudly told me about some of the publications that have showcased his shop. He showed me a copy of the book, The Perfume Bible, and turned to page 160 that highlights Marie Antoinette. The description in the book of his little jewel of a perfumerie is spot on.
And after testing a few fragrances, poof — there it was. The perfect perfume for me. Lys Noir by Isabey. It’s hard to describe but I knew the second I tested it on my skin. Mission accomplished, I bid Antonio au revoir and with his beautiful bag in hand walked across the square outside his shop.
It was close to 6:00 pm so I decided it was time to take a break before walking back to my apartment, and I found a quiet little cafe across the square and sat down outside to enjoy a glass of wine. I toasted to the success of my search, to the great fortune of meeting a joyful Antonio, and to the perfect happiness that comes from being on a quiet street in Paris, sitting outside and enjoying a glass of wine. I hope the people sitting next to me caught a whiff and thought to themselves, “I wonder what perfume she is wearing?” And if you find yourself in Paris, you MUST go find Marie Antoinette.