Paris, the city of lights for many, and the city of love for some, but for me it is the city of luxury. This city filled with haute couture fashion, pricey but delectable wines, savory and well crafted cheese, precise and intentional cuisine has taken my heart and my mind to a place that is unforgettable.
The trip didn't start out this way, and for the blog I will be talking about the entire trip - from planning to the return. There were hiccups, mistakes, COVID barriers, but there was love, happiness, passion, and intrigue. If you have ever been to Paris I am sure you will have experienced many of the same things, minus possibly the COVID restrictions, but that makes Paris all the more interesting and engaging.
So what brought about the idea to go to Paris? When I first started my business, I did weeks of research on the "home of perfumery". Although France, and Paris in specific, is not the exact home of perfumery, it is often seen as the modern home. The home of perfumery actually lies in the middle east and northern africa where attars and incense have been burned for millennia - which are also on my list to visit. Nonetheless, I wanted to see what the hype was all about.
I studied Fashion and Luxury Brand Management a few years back via online courses at Università Bocconi in Milan. I never pursued a degree, but audited the courses just for fun. One thing I learned is that the French know how to do luxury, and the best way to experience it is to see it.
I knew that if I was going to build a luxury brand, I would need to learn how the French have executed it, and then I can compare that to American luxury brands at a later point. Paris was the perfect place for that. Although Grasse, which is the center of perfumery production, is a few hours away, I wanted to focus on Luxury and Fashion for perfumery. So I started planning what I could accomplish during this trip. I reached out to perfumers, brands, ISIPCA, and the Osmotheque to see if I could fill my quick four days with perfumer plans that are in reach of Paris then my next trip will hopefully include Grasse to learn more about production. I chose December because it would be perfect timing after all of the travel I had done previously the last two seasons, and a great way to cap off my first year in business.
I managed to get all of my meetings and events planned, while also coordinating a group trip with a few of my friends and my lady I've been dating. We planned to stay in Bastille, in a nice quaint hotel called the Moxy. Bastille is full of young professionals, expats, and foreigners primarily who are enjoying Paris. We'd booked our flights through United because it seemed to be the best option between points and cash as a group. We made extracurricular plans to see the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, a day trip to Lyon, wine tasting, and a few Michelin Star restaurants for dinners. The schedule looked like so:
Day 1, December 2nd:
Our flight would take off December 1st, and land December 2nd at 9am. This was a day for exploring Paris, visiting a friend's restaurant (Vantre), hanging out and enjoying the day. We weren't sure if Jet Lag would set in so we wanted to keep the day open. We also were required to do COVID Screening and exchange our COVID Vaccine Cards for EU Health Passes.
Day 2, December 3rd:
08:00 - Head to Versailles (about 1 hr from Paris by train) for my first day of meetings
09:00 - Tour ISIPCA and meet with students
10:00 - See the Palace of Versailles, Gardens of Versailles, and take pictures of my bottle in the city
15:00 - Return to ISIPCA and tour the Osmotheque to learn about history of perfume, and smell extinct fragrances
17:00 - Return to Paris
20:00 - Head to our 2 Michelin Dinner with my friend group at Apicius
22:00 - Hit the town and see what Paris night life is all about (clubs and bars are open until 6am here)
Day 3, December 4th:
08:00 - Enjoy breakfast and quick bites in local cafe to prepare for the day
12:00 - Meet up with a perfumer and a client to the perfumery district and meet any perfumers who may be in their shops at the time.
15:00 - Rendezvous with my friend group at Sacre Coeur for Sunset over Paris
17:00 - Return to central Paris for less formal dinner and again hit the town.
Day 4, December 5th:
08:00 - Enjoy breakfast and quick bites in local cafe's again
12:00 - Head to Lyon for a Day Trip with my Lady, see Presqu'île, Art Centers, Shopping Malls, Lunch, and learn about Lyon, and of course wine tasting
20:00 - Dinner at a 1 Michelin Star Restaurant called Café Terroir
22:00 - Return to Paris and either hit the town or call it a night
Day 5: December 6th
08:00 - Enjoy our final breakfast
11:40 - Return back full and happy with more content than ever before.
What an amazing schedule right? Well, it definitely did not go that way. There were things that were amazing, and some bad things that happened as well. I'll be sharing more in the next part, so stay tuned for part 2 for more pictures of the trip, more stories, and to continue learning about the life of a perfumer!