Vacation in Paris Blog

Planning The Future With The Past

Places To Visit - Posted on Aug 03,2020 by Hampton*Jan

Many people inherit family recipes, but Muriel and Olivier Madeline inherited some with a difference. They were for a range of the most famous perfumes of les années folles - that is, the Roarin’ 20s, - perfumes that had been created by their great-grandmother, Germaine Duval.

When Madame Duval died, the perfumes vanished from the shelves of stores and were largely forgotten.

Until a researcher at the Osmothèque, France’s perfume library and archive in Versailles, rediscovered the “recipes.” For Muriel and Olivier, it was a revelation and a moment when they decided to make an enormous leap of faith. They would resurrect the scents and remaster them for today’s market.

That leap has begun to pay off. The perfumes – called Volnay – are back on the market a century after Germaine Duval launched them.

Mme. Duval would be thrilled. She was a woman who believed in taking risks and in living her life the way she wanted. She chose the blackberry as the symbol for her perfume bottle, she said, because it was like her: wild and untamed, but with beautiful flowers and delicious fruit.

Indeed, Germaine Duval was a beauty - she was a model for the fashion house of Lanvin – but she was also adventurous and became the first woman to fly over the Andes. She met her husband on an ocean liner bound for America. When they returned to France, she launched Volnay perfumes as an expression of their love.

The scents were luxury items that became some of the most popular of the time. At 150 euros, or about $170.00 for a flacon of 100 milliliters (approximately three ounces) they are again deluxe products.

But they give today’s woman an opportunity to wear something that is both unique and historic, to allow her to be enveloped in a whiff of a romantic past.

In Paris, they can be found at a shop of fashion accessories that Germaine Duval would adore, Blanche de Castel at 27 rue Clauzel in the 9th arrondissement, not far from Place Pigalle. In addition to Germaine Duval’s Volnay perfumes, the boutique has the sort of jewelry that would make a “flapper” ready to do the Charleston at the drop of a gorgeous hat pin.

Put it on your “must visit” list for your next trip to Paris. You can check out the other cute boutiques in this up-and-coming neighborhood and try one of the charming restaurants just across the street on the Place Gustave Toudouze.


Our latest guest bloggers - Don and Petie Kladstrup

Don and Petie Kladstrup are authors of two best-selling books, the first being Wine and War: the French, the Nazis and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure, a best-seller that has been optioned for a motion picture. Their second book dealt with World War I: Champagne: How the World's Most Glamorous Wine Triumphed Over War and Hard Times. Both books have been translated into more than a dozen languages.

Don and Petie are former journalists. Don was a award-winning foreign correspondent for CBS and ABC Television News. Petie worked for several mid-western newspapers before serving as an assistant to the American ambassador to UNESCO in Paris. They are the parents of two daughters and have lived in Paris since 1978, splitting their time between the city and their country home in the south of France.



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