Scent Sample Sunday: Paris-Venise

Paris-Venise was one of the first three “Les Eaux” fragrances launched by Chanel in 2018, all created by in-house perfumer Olivier Polge. They are eaux de toilette inspired by Coco Chanel’s travels to various cities — what a creative idea! The others were Paris-Deauville and Paris-Biarritz. Since then, the original three have been joined by Paris-Riviera and Paris-Edimbourg, which I haven’t tried yet.

Fragrantica lists the notes of Paris-Venise as: top notes, orange, lemon, petitgrain, bergamot and pink pepper; middle notes, iris, neroli, ylang-ylang, rose and geranium; base notes, tonka bean, vanilla, white musk, orris, violet and benzoin. Sure enough, when I spritz it, I get a lovely burst of fresh citrus notes, beautifully blended. The bright, sunny opening softens within minutes to a gentle floral, also beautifully blended. One aspect of Chanel fragrances (among so many!) that I appreciate is the elegance of how they are blended. Notes merge and segue into each other, dancing with each other to different tempos, stepping forward and backward in the rhythm their combined music suggests.

The Chanel website describes M. Polge’s inspiration as follows: “1920. Gabrielle Chanel falls under the spell of Venice. The glimmer of the Byzantine mosaics and precious gems of St. Mark’s Basilica inspire the designs of her first jewelry collections. Between freshness and sensuality, PARIS-VENISE evokes this legendary city that marks the boundary between East and West.” Having visited Venice for the first time in the summer of 2019, before the world shut down, I would say that M. Polge has done an outstanding job of evoking the city.

My recollections of Venice are of brilliant sunlight glinting off the water of the ubiquitous canals, the welcome breezes off the ocean, the hidden gardens including that of the vacation apartment in a small, restored palazzo where we stayed. Paris-Venise’s citrus-forward opening vividly recalls the sunniness of Venice’s summer climate, while the emerging floral notes remind us that Venice is a city not only of canals and ancient buildings, but also of gardens. (Christine Nagel dwelt on that feature in her fragrance for Hermes, Un Jardin Sur La Lagune). M. Polge did not, in his creation, make reference to the sea or salt water as Mme. Nagel did in hers.

In the middle stage, no one floral note dominates, though I can clearly identify the ylang-ylang, a signature floral note in many Chanel fragrances, including the iconic No. 5. The petitgrain and bergamot linger at the start of this heart phase, adding their bright verdancy to it like sunlight dappling a garden. The rose and iris are also classic Chanel fragrance notes; here, they are fresh and light. I find all “Les Eaux” to be very fresh and youthful, which I’m sure is part of Chanel’s strategy to attract a younger clientele while still appealing to their longtime clients, as they have done with No. 5 L’Eau.

Drying down, Paris-Venise becomes warmer and softer, with a slight spiciness that recalls Venice’s heyday as a entry port to Europe for the spices of the East. A highlight of our visit to Venice was a stop at the Palazzo Mocenigo, which houses a perfume museum as well as artworks and other exhibits (the embroidered fabrics are gorgeous!). Among the perfume-related displays is a massive table covered with spices and resins.

Display at the Palazzo Mocenigo

The base notes include a light vanilla, just a touch of it as this fragrance is by no means “gourmand.” This vanilla smells like the vanilla orchid that produces the actual vanilla beans, so it is more flowery than foody. It combines beautifully with the base’s more floral notes such as violet and orris. All are given a sort of warm airiness by the white musk, like a balmy evening breeze.

I’m very impressed with Paris-Venise. It is ambery without being too heavy or warm — perfect for summer wear even in a climate as hot as Venice. If a fragrance can be slender and elegant, Paris-Venise is that and more. Have you tried any of “Les Eaux de Chanel”? What did you think?

13 thoughts on “Scent Sample Sunday: Paris-Venise

  1. I must try this one. My favorite of the Eaus is Deauville and I need a new bottle of the body wash. It’s divine. I was just wearing yesterday something that you might enjoy trying, Dusita’s new fragrance Cavatina, based on muguet. It’s interesting in that it has some indoles, which I do not associate with muguet. I’m not wild about it, but it’s intriguing. My favorite Dusita is Issara. It has lovely cypress notes and I really love it more each time I wear my sample. I may need to save for a bottle of this one.

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    • Yes, Cavatina is on my wishlist! It would fit right in with my May Muguet Marathon posts. As I haven’t tried most of Parfums Dusita’s line, I will probably get a discovery set and ask for a sample of Cavatina with it, if possible. I was able to try Splendiris a couple of years ago at Les Senteurs in London, it’s beautiful! And I took part in the naming contest for her spring fragrance this year — what fun that was! And the sample received as part of the contest was lovely.

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  2. I have tried all of the Eaux except for the newest and liked them all, but my favorite is Deauville- bought a bottle in San Francisco in 2019. Last year I requested and received a bottle of Riviera for my birthday – second favorite. I could easily own the whole collection.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I really liked Deauville too, though it has been a while since I tried it. I liked Riviera too! Again, it has been a while — I tried them at Nordstrom the first year they came out, which I’m stunned to realize was three years ago!

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  3. Heya OH!
    I love these and am surprised CHANEL waited so long to do some Aqua Allegoria style fresh beauties of their own. My fave is Paris-Biarritz but they are all lovely. I’m excited to smell the newest release too.
    You nailed the review, Venice is one of Jin and my favourite cities. We’ve been a few times but I really feel we have only scratched the surface.
    Portia x

    Liked by 1 person

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