Paris: designed with thought, oozes style, has surprises around every corner, with wide sweeping boulevards, tiny cobbled alleyways, rustic ancient zinc bars, where you can spend the day, dreaming, drinking coffee and watching the world go by, and as the sunsets, she turns on her golden, sparkling charm, proudly, lighting up her monuments.
The New Yorker said the other day before she left, no wonder the Parisians are so arrogant, (her opinion not mine), wouldn’t you be, she added, if this, was your city. People come to Paris, and fall in love with the city, and are touched by her charm. If only you could bottle it.
The French do bottle a little bit of Joy in Paris, all ready to take home with you. Presented in a rectangular bottle, and stylishly packaged in a white box, wrapped in cellophane.
Not the joy, I felt, as I walked along the length of the Rue de Rivoli last night, as day turned into night. Passing the Louvre, approaching the Tuileries Gardens, I caught my breath. When you least expect it, there it is, the Eiffel Tower, golden and graceful, the giant ferris wheel, La Grande Roue, white and bright, it always surprises me, but I was in search of a different kind of Joy.
About a month ago, entering David Jones, a large department store in Brisbane, a woman, armed with a perfume bottle invited me to discover; Joy. David Jones, are embarking on a Jean Patou relaunch for Australia. Puh, no thank you, I told her, this is my perfume of choice, it is all I wear and I will be buying it in Paris.
At this point, we struck up a conversation and she suggested I visit the Jean Patou store, just off the Rue de Rivoli. Joy, almost impossible to find in Australia or Paris these days because the giant, perfume chains, snap up the shelf space and don’t allow space for the small yet historic perfume from Jean Patou. Years back I could buy it duty free in Australia and last year I bought it a Galleries Lafayette but not anymore.
When I reached the small, simple yet stylish store, it appeared to be closed. A woman inside, motioned to press the button and with that, the glass doors slid open.
Entering the store, my favourite perfume, Joy, dominated the entire store. Before I discovered Joy, my perfume of choice was Jean-Louis Scherrer, I spotted a bottle on the counter. Many years have passed, since that young woman, being me, wore Jean-Louis Scherrer, and now, Jean Patou, owns this brand also. Animated, I told the shop assistant about my stories, discovering the two brands, how ironic, that they now, all these years later, sat, side by side in the tiny shop.
She generously offered not one, but four samples of Jean-Louis Scherrer, and as she waved her arms near the door, like magic, she says, the doors will open, and they did, the glass doors slid open, and I stepped out onto the street, clutching the golden bag, with a box of and a sense of Joy.