Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau du Cloitre

Whew, almost missed posting today! We had some viral drama here this morning but all is now well. To go with the sense of serenity I am trying to cultivate, today’s rose fragrance is Le Couvent des Minimes’ Eau du Cloitre. The box translates that into English as the “Botanical Cologne of the Cloister.”

This brand is intriguing. The original scents were not expensive (not counting the cult favorite Cologne of the Missions, which sells for silly prices online). When Ulta stopped carrying the line, I got a 100 ml bottle of Eau du Cloitre for less than $19.00, and that’s the one I’m reviewing today. Here’s what Fragrantica has to say about the brand: “The earliest edition was created in 2008 and the newest is from 2020. Le Couvent des Minimes fragrances were made in collaboration with perfumers Jean-Claude Ellena, Amelie Bourgeois, Thomas Fontaine and Eric Fracapane.”

Wait, what? Who? Those are some big names. So after doing a little (very little) digging, I learned that Le Couvent des Minimes is a line that was founded by L’Occitane and sold in 2017 to Laboratoires Filorga. I think the big-name perfumers were hired after that acquisition, because several of the newer launches are said to have been created by M. Ellena. The older, original fragrances don’t list the noses behind them.

I like the text on my original box of Eau du Cloitre:

The Botanical Cologne of the Cloister pays tribute to a particular moment of the day, when the joyful discussions of the Franciscan Missionaries of Mary rang out under the Cloisters’ shaded arcades and mingled with the delicious scent of the flowers warmed by the midday sun. Its original recipe blends roses and pink peppercorn with 4 plants chosen for their beneficial properties in a luminous scented cologne.

The box also lists an “original recipe”:

Rose, Pink Peppercorn: sources of joy; Geranium, source of harmony; Grapefruit, refreshing; Ginger, source of vitality; and Cedar, invigorating. The historic convent is real, turned years ago into a spa and resort. Here’s what the brand’s website used to say:

Located in the heart of Haute Provence, France, Le Couvent des Minimes (the Convent of the Minims) is a unique sun-drenched convent with an ancestral tradition of love and passion for aromatic plants and natural ingredients.
The Franciscan Missionaries of Mary opened the doors of the Convent of the Minims to those in need. They welcomed these people into the convent with love and care.


The cologne is true to its notes and the ingredient list does include items such as oils and extracts of the listed plants, as well as various aromachemicals. The grapefruit jumps out front right away — a good thing in my book, because I like grapefruit notes in fragrances.  A peppery rose follows shortly after the grapefruit vanishes, and it is very refreshing. It does have a ginger note, a light one. For a cologne, this has pretty good sillage too; when I spritzed it, my husband smelled it from several feet away (and liked it). It lasts well too; I can still smell it close to my skin after several hours.

The rose here is part of an ensemble, not a scene-stealing diva. Eau du Cloitre was actually a perfect scent for today; our pleasantly warm spring weather suddenly got hot and even a little humid. I worked outside in the garden for a while this afternoon and felt pretty sticky when I came inside; a couple of spritzes of Eau du Cloitre set me right. Not quite as right as a week at the eponymous spa, but for now the eau de cologne will have to do!

The artwork on the label is charming, too: it has an antique-looking black and white engraving of a rose garden surrounded by an arched cloister, in the center of which is a round fountain. I love those cloister and monastery gardens. A highlight of 2019’s trip to Nice, France, was the walk we took to and through the gardens of the Monastere de Cimiez, with its spectacular views over the countryside. And of course, our trip to Florence also took us to several beautiful churches with their own cloisters and gardens.

Eau du Cloitre succeeds in creating the sense of a peaceful, sunny summer day surrounded by a garden that has many roses but also has other plants. It does refresh the senses, and it is bringing back happy memories of a beautiful visit to a beautiful part of the world. Not bad for $19!

Have you tried any of the original, or more recent, fragrances of Le Couvent des Minimes?




3 thoughts on “Roses de Mai Marathon: Eau du Cloitre

  1. I am beyond upset that I never bought vats of eau de Minimes when they sold for dirt cheap and Ulta had BOGOs periodically . That was my favorite from the brand. Equally as upset that the company revamped and came out with new fragrances in new packaging for ten times the price.


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