Perfumes and fragrances have been a part of human culture since ancient times. These days, however, some of the most famous perfume brands hail from the French fashion scene. Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent… these French brands have dominated modern perfume making. So it’s no surprise that there should be a museum dedicated to the art of making perfumes in the heart of Paris! The Fragonard Perfume Museum, found near the Opéra Garnier in the 9th arrondissement, is a great place to explore the fascinating history of humanity making themselves smell good and should be a part of your next trip to Paris!
Background of the Perfume Museum
The Musée du Parfum opened in 1983 within a townhouse constructed during the reign of Napoleon III in the late 19th century. Before opening, the home was renovated and enlarged, then furnished with period pieces and artwork as well as artifacts from the perfume industry over the years. The museum itself is inspired by the “cabinet of curiosities” style and presents objects used in perfumeries throughout history – maps, measuring instruments, illustrations of botanical objects, jars, and more!
What to Do at the Perfume Museum
- Visit the Stills Room: a reflection of a perfume factory from the early 20th Photographs and archive films illustrate the stages of perfume making and how the industry has evolved since the 1900s. While most of the manufacturing process has been mechanized in the years since, the people and the creation processes have remained largely the same.
- Create Your Own Perfume at the Perfumer’s Workshop: create a scent that is completely personalized! The Museum offers a “Perfumer’s Apprentice Workshop”, a 90-minute session led by a perfumery expert that will teach you the basics of creating perfume. You’ll leave with a personalized 100ml bottle of your own perfume, a perfumer’s apprentice apron, and a diploma signed by the teacher! Available in English and French.
- Visit the Shop: the Fragonard boutique that manages the Perfume Museum is known for its fragrances and has been in business out of the Cote d’Azur since the 1920s. Check out their collection at the museum shop and buy some gifts to give to your friends!
How to Get There
The Fragonard Perfume Museum is located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris close to the Opéra Garnier. To get there, take the metro to the Opéra station, which is on the 3, 7, and 8 lines, and walk northwest to the corner of rue Scribe and rue Auber. Guided tours of the museum are free of charge (although there is a charge for the Perfumer’s Apprentice Workshop) and can be booked in advance on the Museum’s website. Open from 10 am to 7 pm Monday to Saturday.
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