The difference between what's sold as connoting "French" and what actual French people prefer is a rather wide one. Despite the usual glamouralisation of French culture (not without its own marketing reasons, I suppose), the reality is French people are not widely different or widely more sophisticated than the rest of the world: They don't as a rule have a penchant for classic chypres, elegant aldehydics or byzantine orientals as the average perfumista in the USA imagines (though fashions in the past did create a "type" of perfume defined as "French style perfume"). Instead the French mostly buy what is contemporary and familiar, as does any normal human being to the degree that they don't have an obsessive interest in perfume. (The French do learn to use perfume from a young age onwards and not be too sparing with it, nevertheless, which is a huge difference compared with some other cultures). The globalisation as well as the agressive marketing of the fragrance industy bears interesting fruits in those regards.
|Fanny Ardant and Emmanuelle Béart in Nathalie|
So let's discover the top 20 best-sellers in feminine fragrances in France for the year 2011:
Dior Miss Dior Chérie
Thierry Mugler Angel
L'Eau d'Issey by Issey Miyake
Dior Hypnotic Poison
Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempicka
Viktor& Rolf Flowerbomb
Rochas Eau de Rochas
Rem by Reminiscence
Givenchy Ange ou Démon
Paco Rabanne Black XS pour elle
Narciso Rodriguez Narciso For Her
Jimmy Choo by Jimmy Choo
Paco Rabanne Lady Million
Nina Ricci Nina (apple bottle)
List thanks to notrefamille.com, a French webzine, in no particular order.
Another list (top 7) from a French source, meuilleur-top.com, runs thus (again in order of presentation, not necessarily bulk of sales):
Lolita Lempicka by Lolita Lempica
Kenzo Flower Le Parfum
Nina Ricci Ricci Ricci
Thierry Mugler Angel
The exact order, as per the prestigious NPD Group, of the top 3 perfumes in France for 2011 can be seen here.
Additional observations, courtesy of yours truly, are captured in my short memoir "Snapshots of Phantasmagoria" about a Paris trip in winter.
Perhaps more fittingly, nonetheless, since this is a fumehead blog with more sophisticated interests & tastes than the average person in the street, what we consider that should be popular in France is more a propos. So in that spirit, if you hadn't caught it when I first posted it back in 2009, please read Drapeau Tricolore: 12 Quintessentially French Fragrances.
But more importantly and I'm interested in opinions, rather than hard facts:
What do YOU consider French-smelling? And why?