May Muguet Marathon: Chanel Paris-Biarritz

Last summer (2018), Chanel launched “Les Eaux de Chanel”, three eaux de toilette named after three destinations to which Chanel herself traveled from Paris. The destinations are Biarritz, Venise, and Deauville. Created by Olivier Polge, Chanel’s in-house perfumer, each of these fragrances opens with a strong medley of citrus notes. They are intended to be very fresh and lively, and so they are.

Paris-Biarritz is a tribute to the seaside resort in the southwest Basque region of France, which became fashionable during the time of Empress Eugenie and Napoleon III, who built a grand summer home there. Chanel opened her first true “salon de couture” here, in 1915, during World War I when many wealthy people sought refuge and distance from the war. The international clientele of Biarritz allowed her to earn enough that she became financially independent, and the town is thus integral to the history of her fashion house. Perfumer Olivier Polge describes the intent behind Les Eaux:

“This is a new sort of collection of perfumes, we call them Les Eaux because they’re fresh, fluid, sparkling. My source of inspiration came from Eau de cologne, those combinations of fresh citrus oils,” says Polge. Each scent was inspired and named after a destination vitally important to Coco Chanel’s life: Venice, Biarritz, and the beach town Deauville where she opened her very first boutique in 1913. “The three cities are really important in the history of Chanel. They became a part of our identity and source of inspiration,” he says.

The story of Coco Chanel in Biarritz is best told by Chanel itself, in this short film:

Like its siblings, Paris-Biarritz opens with a burst of citruses, in this case orange, lemon, bergamot, grapefruit, and tangerine. The combination is very appealing; there is sweetness from the orange and tangerine, tartness from the lemon and grapefruit, and some greenness from the bergamot. It takes a while for any heart notes to show up, and the first one I perceive is the neroli, which seems fitting since it is the source of orange blossom absolute. The bergamot lingers the longest of all those citrus top notes, which leads nicely into the greener heart of the fragrance. The words used by Chanel to describe this fragrance include “exceptionally fresh”, “dynamic”, “vivacious”, and I would agree.

As the citruses settle down, the neroli shows up, then lily of the valley and unspecified green notes. This heart phase is floral, but lightly so. Given that both lily of the valley and neroli give off citrusy and green aromas, and bergamot is a very “green” citrus to my nose, the greenness of the middle stage works well and quite smoothly. I think the neroli takes precedence over the lily of the valley, however. The citrus notes last longer than I might have expected, which I appreciate. This is a truly unisex fragrance, very reminiscent of summer colognes but longer lasting.

That doesn’t mean it has great longevity, though, because it doesn’t. Not bad for a citrus-focused fragrance, but after just a few hours, it is gone. The base notes are, to my nose, skin scents, and I can’t even say that I smell any patchouli, just a lingering light note of white musk. Some will enjoy reapplying it often to enjoy the beautiful citrus top notes. If you are seeking a a true lily of the valley fragrance, this isn’t it, but it is very appealing.

Have you tried any of “Les Eaux de Chanel”? Did you like any?

8 thoughts on “May Muguet Marathon: Chanel Paris-Biarritz

  1. I own and love Venise. Biarritz and Deauville are well-done, but I don’t tend to wear citrus cologne type fragrances. Lovely though for those that enjoy them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I actually think Venise may be my favorite of the three! I only have samples so haven’t spent a lot of time with them, but luckily our local Nordstrom carries them and is very generous with samples so I can try them again when I want.

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      • Your review and especially the film was very enjoyable, I am such a Chanel fan!
        Nordstrom is wonderful now with their generous sampling policy. I spent time with all three Eauxs, all very Chanel-esque. Venise is very much my style. Spritz lavishly!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I just went to my local Nordstrom yesterday to smell each one. Biarritz was easily my favorite, such a fresh and pretty smell on my skin (Currently I use Jo Malone Wood sage & Sea salt). The longevity between the two is almost identical which is perfect for me because it does not overpower my nose, great for people who are sensitive to smells (which I am not usually). I like when scents can be smelled by people close to you, going in for a hug, a kiss. I usually also spray it on my brush and once it’s dried down, comb my hair. At first I was somewhat shocked when the SA told me it’s for spraying all over (though later I did some research on the history of this style of fragrance), when I think of Chanel I can’t imagine spraying the scents all over (usually quite strong!). But you can absolutely do it with Biarritz. Deauville was a hard no for me from the instant my nose came close. Venise smelled amazing on the skin of the associate (feminine and dreamy), on my skin it smells like when my grandmother wear her chanel 5 (matriarchal, but less strong). It’s really amazing how different your body chemistry can react to a scent, I love it. I’m so excited to try out Riviera once it’s in store at the end of the month, I believe it is also a scent that has to due with the sea. Anyway, I’m rambling! This was a great post! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

      • I spray whatever perfume I’m using on the brush and let it dry down, then comb my hair. I never spray it directly into my hair because that’s too drying for me.

        Also, I haven’t! I will look into those!
        The only hair mist I’ve tried was when I
        used viktor&rolf flowerbomb in my early 20s ❤

        Liked by 1 person

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