I really hope that you’ve read the title of this article, and thought “I could never create my own custom perfume in Paris; I’m not a multi-squillionnaire! But I still want to do it, actually, and I’m curious”.
Because I am going to prove you wrong, sister.
The days when you had to be Britney Spears in order to have your own custom fragrance are gone! These days, all you need to do to create your very own custom perfume in Paris is to turn up at the doors of Sillages Paris, and let their wonderful staff whisk you through a world of olfactory fun. You’ll walk back out with your very own unique, private label perfume, and feeling precisely one hundred times more glam than you ever have in your life.
But actually, you don’t even need to do that. You can do it all online, using the same perfume experts, and let the glam come to you.
It’s the ideal Paris souvenir, a timeless reminder of your stay in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and a great gift if you can bear to part with it. Sillages offered me the chance to explore their operation, and create my own perfume. As always, opinions are my own, but I honestly couldn’t be happier with what I created – it was so much fun!
Best of all, I’m going to let you in on the secret of how to do it!
What makes perfume such a great souvenir?
Regular readers of this blog (gawd love ya) will know that I’m an avid fan of grabbing as many awesome souvenirs on my travels as possible. I’ve tracked down the best Paris souvenirs, Prague gifts, and Budapest buys, and loved every minute of it.
In fact, if you read my article on Italy souvenirs, you’ll see that I specifically tip buying perfume as a little gift for yourself. Scent is one of the strongest senses for bringing back memories – how many times have you caught a whiff of something, and thought “that smells exactly like my old Geography classroom in the summer”, or similar? Yup, you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I’ve bought a few bottles of body lotion and locally-made soaps in my time, but do you know what works best of all? Perfume – the really good stuff.
Making your own custom perfume in Paris is perfect, because you can tailor it to reflect your individual tastes, and memories of the city. Roses in the springtime. Sunlight on greenery in the city’s parks. Fruit in an open-air market. You can relive Paris every morning, as soon as you apply your own custom scent.
Is Paris famous for perfumes, then?
It sure is!
The town of Grasse in southern France is undoubtedly the birthplace of fragrances. It was there, back in antiquity, that people noticed that the juice and oils from pressed flowers smelled pretty darn good, and that people quite liked to smell like aforementioned flowers. Thus, the perfume industry was born.
Anything that was hot in regional France undoubtedly made its way to fashion-forward Paris, and perfume was no exception. Ever since then, Grasse and Paris have been the twin capitals of the perfume world: one for manufacture, the other for distribution and application. The most fashionable ladies of Paris wouldn’t have been caught dead without perfume (although they possibly were during the French Revolution…), and its stayed the same ever since.
Paris is still the home of all the big perfume labels you care to mention. Chanel, Dior, Guerlain… but their fragrances, lovely and mighty they might be, are hardly unique. How many women in the world wear Chanel No.5?
Nope. If you want to really treat yourself, and make a statement that’s all yours, creating a custom perfume in Paris is the way to go.
Where can you make your own fragrance in Paris?
Okay, here comes the good stuff!
You can make your own custom perfume in Paris at a few different locations, but they can be intimidating affairs. Frightfully posh and exclusive. The kind of place where a slightly-raised eyebrow at one of your choices will potentially stay in your memory forever. Instead of getting visions of Paris every time you wear your perfume, you’ll be having trauma flashbacks to that time you got dissed by an eyebrow.
Non, I say, non! Go instead to one of the hidden treasures of Paris, a place where both the staff and perfumes are unpretentious and awesome.
What is this paradise of perfumes, I hear you ask? None other than Sillages Paris, located at 5 Rue de Charonnes, Paris XI.
What’s so special about Sillages Paris?
Maxime Garcia-Janin, the founder of Sillages Paris, has been called “The Crazy Kid of Perfumery” (though if you ask me, he’s a super-nice chap!). After doing an internship at Dior, and working in fragrance development at Lancôme and Armani, he was inspired to start his own perfumery at the tender age of 28.
It was his experience at Dior which formulated the base of what Sillages Paris is. By his own account, he was walking thorough the perfume development section, with sunlight streaming through the windows and striking gorgeous bottles full of beautiful scents, when he realised that this was the centre of what makes perfume so magical. But it was the place that the public never got to see.
Sillages Paris changes all of that, by letting you in on the magic! Maxime gathered a small, young team around him, nabbing some of the rising talents of the perfume industry, and developing a perfume company that is completely centred around what you want, and what you think is perfect – not some faceless boffin in a lab.
That’s what makes the place special: you become the perfumer, assisted by experts. Nothing is hidden away, and you get to see the magic for yourself. It’s taking the perfume world by storm.
Making your own perfume at Sillages Paris HQ
If you’re visiting Paris, going to the Sillages Paris HQ to make your own bespoke perfume couldn’t be easier!
Firstly, hop on the Sillages website to book a free appointment for a visit. Sillages Paris don’t spend money on swanky shops on the Champs-Élysées; everything gets pumped back into perfume. Accordingly, their workshop is only open to you if they know you’re coming, so get that appointment booked pronto.
All set? Cool! Turn up on the day, and you’ll be all ready to blend scents!
The first thing you’ll do is walk through the “perfume organ” with an expert scent-maker – this is a part of the workshop where the natural ingredients (which are all paraben free) are suspended from the ceiling in tube-like bottles. It’s like wandering through an enchanted forest, only with added delicious smells going on. Choose between diverse scents, with everything from amber and leather, to orange blossom and jasmine – in fact, there’s 64 to choose from! You’ll be recording your favourites on an iPad as you go.
Next, you’ll sit at the salon with your expert, and start creating your fragrance together! You have total control of what you produce – if you don’t like anything, it can be taken away again, or your expert can provide you with an alternative. It’ll be made up, bottled, and ready for you to take home!
Making your own perfume online
Already visited Paris and come home, and kicking yourself at missing out at the chance to create your own scent? No worries – you can create a custom perfume in Paris, from the comfort of your own home!
Access the Sillages Paris website again, and you’ll notice a button marked “Get My Formula”. Have a click, and it’ll run you through some preliminary enquiries, such as whether the perfume is for you, and whether you like it to be “Soft”, “Intense” or “Whatever”. Did I mention that they’re unpretentious? The lack of jargon is refreshing in the perfume world, believe me!
From there, you’ll select your ingredients. You don’t have to worry about whether something is a base or top note; that’ll all be taken care of for you. Pick whatever you like the sound of – the site automatically takes away anything that’ll clash, so you genuinely can’t fail to pick the perfect perfume!
Once you’ve finished, it’ll take a mere five days for the Sillages Paris team to concoct your perfume by hand, and send it out to you! Don’t like it? You can return it for free, and get a full refund. But I can almost guarantee you’ll love it, and you’ll also receive three testers of other scents you might like!
How much does it cost to make your own perfume?
Okay, we’ve got to the moment of truth. You’re in love with the idea of creating your own signature perfumes: you just don’t want to smell like everyone else. But how much is this going to cost? It’s from frickin’ Paris, after all – surely this costs a fortune?
Well, start to dream. As I mentioned before, Sillages Paris don’t spend pots of cash on posh shops, tons of staff, and celebrity endorsements.
A large 50ml bottle will cost only €83 – and trust me, as someone who owns one myself, it’ll take you quite a while to get through it! It’s excellent value – though if you’re still not sure, you can go for a 15ml bottle for an even more bargainous price of €35. Add the three samples you’re also getting, and you really can’t go wrong!
I really hope you’ve enjoyed this article about creating your own custom perfume in Paris! Whether you visit Sillages Paris in person, or order online, it’s such a fun process – and having your own individual perfume from Paris is cool beyond words. I’m calling mine “Eau d’Anxious”.
If you’re in full agreement that this is just the most epic Paris souvenir ever, how about giving this article a share? You can use those nifty buttons on the side of the page; just give ’em a click.
If you’re super-smart (and I know you are!), save the below images to Pinterest. That way, it gives this article a share, helps out fellow perfume fans, and gives you a permanent bookmark back to this page for when you need it! You know you’re going to want to order a bottle for your mother’s birthday too, c’mon.
Thanks for reading!