Scents evoke strong memories. The scent of hot, buttered popcorn at the movies with friends, or a smoky fire in the fireplace on a brisk evening. I always remember the scent of my grandma's split pea soup simmering on the stove while she enchanted me with stories of her youth.
One of the strongest relationships I've had between scent and memory is of a time when I visited the French Riviera. I took a guided tour of the region beginning in Nice, France. As we travelled up the steep and narrow rolling hills, before I could take in the vibrant landscape, the first thing I noticed was the fragrant flowers of lavender, fleur d'oranger, and violets.
The vibrant pinks, orange and purple of the flowers against the blue of the Mediterranean Sea was otherworldly. I stood on the side of the lower corniche watching the sparking water and taking in the scents. I didn't respond when the driver said we were leaving.
Eze, FranceJohn Harper
Gently shaken out of my trance, we resumed the trip on the way to Eze. Eze means Eagle's Nest; it gives residents and visitors a 1,401 foot view above sea level. It is a small Medieval village known for its beauty. It's a place that entices all the senses, especially olfaction. Along the narrow streets, you can inhale the scent of the sea, the flowers draped over the edges of neatly tucked-in window boxes, and the smells of local food vendors. I can look at my photos of that village and immediately smell my experience there.
Finally, my driver carefully backed down the tiny roadway and we continued on to what became my favorite and most memorable scent adventure. When we arrived at Fragonard, the parfumeur, I had to stop first and take in the view once again. Set on the side of a mountain overlooking a valley with beautiful greenery and lush surroundings, Fragonard is located at 7 avenue du Jardin Exotique, 06360 Eze, France. Just the location sounds dreamy!
My driver told me to take my time in the factory and I was ready. I took the tour and learned about how flowers are processed to become perfume and other beauty products. Being a beauty product junkie, I was ready to bring some of this bootie home. My nose was delighted to take on all the different scents and my hands and arms were anointed with every and all lotions, potions and serums.
As we rounded the tour to the final presentation, we were left at the entrance of the Fragonard store. Now was my turn to go wild. I picked up some bottles of perfume, trying to choose what would fit in my luggage and which would be less likely to break. Although, what a nice problem to have: perfume infused luggage! I did my share of damage, purchasing fragrant wonders for all my friends and family.
Next, I came upon a pure line of Argan Oil products called Vrai. The lovely sales woman explained to me, in her beautifully accented English that this oil would heal my dry skin, ease rough, irritated razor stubble and give a beautiful glow to my face and skin. As I did with all the other products in the parfumerie, I poured a little from the white tester bottle and ran it over my all-too-soaked arm. I smelled a natural and earthy fragrance that was a welcome change from the flowery scents I had been inhaling all day. Something told me I had to take this oil home. I bought a small bottle and tucked it away in my tote. The rest of my tour was just as inspiring and etched forever in my mind. Upon returning to my hotel in Nice I couldn't stop smelling that oil which was the top note on the tip of my nose.
I have used my Vrai oil from Parfumerie Fragonard every day since my unforgettable trip to the Cote D'Azur. Just the scent of the oil takes me back to that fairytale destination.
You can order Vrai Argan Oil direct from Fragonard at: us.fragonard.com