The odor of Paris would be “mat”, according to Frédéric. Grandson of the founder of Dior perfumes, Serge Heftler, Frédéric has designed his versions of perfumes in the style of a germanopratin editor, worthy of Flammarion or Gallimard. He doesn’t pretend to be a nose. He isn’t a designer; his strength is knowing how to guide perfumers. He unearths great perfumers who realize, with Frédéric the perfumes they dream of, without budget constraints or marketing tests. Who would refuse this freedom in this world of noses and joined fists. Pierre Bourdon, Jean-Claude Ellena, Edmond Roudnitska, the “biggest noses” of the “blockbusters” of Dior, Hermès or YSL, have respect for the Malle house, while they should be fighting them for the smelling strips. In 7 years of existence, Frédéric has conquered a place in the independent perfumery industry and has over fourty vendors in the world and three in Paris.
The Concorde station has an odor. Each change in the metro awakens a moment, a smell, a memory. My madeleine is underground.
And if I gave you complete power?
I would get rid of the Montparnasse tower. As a child, I went to school at “Stan” (Stanislas middle school) and I saw the tower go up. The construction had to be stopped short, it should have been 30% bigger. In it’s splendid isolation, as a result it is out of place and ugly.
And if I gave you carte blanche?
I would give the Seine a color. A red Seine. A grand red carpet, the scene of Paris.
Addresses of Frédéric Malle
Glacier Berthillon, 29-31 rue Saint-Louis-en-l’Île, Tel. 01 43 54 31 61
I went there as a child and I always make a detour for it. You have to get 3 scoops because it is very important to feel the transition between each flavor. One scoop leads into the other. You have to create a space of equilibrium, where you taste the fruits and where the flavors are not too sweet. In summer: cacao, grapefruit sorbet, melon sorbet. In winter: tutti-frutti, peach-raspberry and chocolate.
Le Café de Flore, 172 Boulevard Saint-Germain, Tel. 01 45 48 55 26
Every morning, I get breakfast there. A smoked China tea and two sausages. It’s Jack or Gilbert who serve me. Get a table to the left when you enter (often reserved for regulars), just to the left of Marie-Hélène at the cash register.
Moulié Fleurs, 8 place de Palais-Bourbon, Tel. 01 45 51 78 43
Madame Moulié gets me flowers in every season. I love to send tuberoses to Dominique Ropion (perfumer) who works on Carnal Flower; she finds them in Italy. It’s like going to buy myself a Porsche when I go there. When you send flowers, you have to adapt yourself to your “victim”, pale colors for some people, or flowers with strong odors for others.
Galerie Naïla de Monbrison, 6 rue de Bourgogne, Tel. 01 47 05 11 15
There is real jewelry here. Designer specialists. Much better than what you would find at place Vendôme.
Cibus, 5 rue Molière, Tel. 01 42 61 50 19
Go eat at Elio, it’s from Italy, very close to the Palais-Royal garden. One dish per day. Five tables. A very secret setting that you pass under the coat.
Extracts translated from French into English from “Paris Du Tout Paris” by Alexandra Senes.