When it comes to wine, fashion, and architecture, France is one of the top countries in the world. But another thing the small European country is known for is its appreciation of fine perfumes. Some of the best names in the perfume industry find their home in France.
Paris is one of the biggest hubs of French perfumes in the world because of Europe’s rich history of floriculture. This article talks about the top French perfume brands, their history, and their best perfumes.
Chanel is synonymous with luxury fashion. The brand finds its roots in Paris and is one of the most prestigious companies in the fashion industry today. Founded by Coco Chanel in 1910, Chanel mostly focuses on women’s clothes, luxury goods, and accessories.
Coco Chanel was originally known as Gabrielle Chanel and was a fashion designer by profession. The perfume vertical of Chanel, founded by Pierre Wertheimer in 1924, proved to be very successful. Popular perfumes from Chanel include the Allure series, the Chance series, the Coco series, and the No. 5.
The logo for the House of Chanel is two interlocked Cs, standing for Coco Chanel. Besides perfumes, you can buy apparel, makeup and skincare items, fine jewelry, watches, and wine from Chanel.
Famous actresses and models that have been associated with Chanel include Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman, Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart, and Marilyn Manson. You can learn more about this by checking out the Chanel Wiki.
Dior is originally known as Christian Dior SE and is a French luxury fashion house. An interesting thing to note about Dior is that it is chaired by Bernard Arnault, the head of Louis Vuitton. Founded in 1946 by Christian Dior, the brand originally started as a shoe and clothing brand but has since expanded into perfumes.
You can check out the entire list of Dior perfumes on the official Dior page. Dior itself has seen multiple big names from Hollywood being associated with it, including Rihanna, Robert Pattinson, Cara Delevingne, Jennifer Lawrence, Mila Kunis, and Natalie Portman. You can learn more about Dior by checking out the Dior Wiki page.
Dior releases perfumes for women in a number of series. Popular ones include the Poison series, the Miss Dior series, and the JOY by Dior series.
Lancome is a French luxury perfume house that is part of the L’Oreal family. L’Oreal has its own luxury products division. However, Lancome was originally an independent house in 1935 and was not acquired by L’Oreal until 1964. La vie est belle, a strong floral scent, is one of Lancome’s most popular products.
Lancome was founded by Guillaume d’Ornano by taking inspiration from the Lancome forest in France. Among Lancome’s products, you will find fragrances, makeup, and skincare luxury items. An interesting part about Lancome’s makeup division is that they have an app that lets you virtually try on makeup and buy their products online.
Like all luxury brands, Lancome has some very impressive names under its belt when it comes to spokesmodels. Some famous names include Emma Watson, Isabella Rosselini (who was the international face of Lancome for 14 years), Kate Winslet, and Zendaya. You can learn more about Lancome by checking out the Lancome wiki.
Kenzo, which operates under Louis Vuitton, was founded by Japanese designer Kenzo Takada. While Takada started the brand in 1970 with women’s designer clothing, men’s clothing, kids’ wear, and eventually home collections, perfumes did not become a part of the brand until 1988.
Kenzo’s history comes with a number of Hollywood names that have adorned the clothes, including celebrities and fashion bloggers. Popular names that you might have heard of include Jay Z, Kevin Hart, Selena Gomez, Lorde, Rihanna, and Beyonce. This approval by stars in the movie and music industry has cemented Kenzo’s position in the luxury fashion industry.
You can learn more about the brand and its history by checking out the Kenzo wiki page and shop for its products on the official Kenzo website. Flower by Kenzo is a women’s perfume that has been widely appreciated because of its floral tones.
Established in 1837 by Thierry Hermes, the brand was much different than what you can see of it now. Hermes was much more focused on leather goods, as Thierry Hermes created harnesses and bridles. This then shifted into bags still aimed towards horse riders to carry their saddles.
The company then ventured into tableware in the 1980s, even producing porcelain and crystal materials. By the late 2000s, Hermes had leather, scarves, ties, women’s wear, men’s wear, watches, footwear, stationery, gloves, decorative arts, jewelry, and perfume under the portfolio of products they manufactured and sold.
The perfume vertical of the company started in 1951 and offered options for both men and women. Scents for women include Hiris, Amazon, Jour d’Hermes, and Twilly d’Hermes. Perfumes for men include Bel Ami, Rocabar, Equipage Geranium, and their most recent offering, the H24.
Chloe is a common name when it comes to Hollywood celebrities, and their products have been adorned by Madonna, Cameron Diaz, Emma Stone, and Maggie Gyllenhall. Started in 1952 by Gaby Aghion, Chloe is one of the most popular French perfume brands with its roots in Paris.
Chloe specifically designs high-end perfumes for women that feature velvety and floral tones. It is a part of the Richemont Group, a luxury goods holding company that also owns Montblanc, Piaget, and Dunhill.
A wide range of perfumes for women are available on the Chloe official website. Notable names include the Rose Tangerine, the Naturelle, and the Nomade. If you’re interested in the brand, you can also find products like bags and ready-to-wear clothes for women.
Unlike the previous additions to this list, L’Artisan Parfumeur is strictly a perfume house. Described as a French niche perfume house, the brand was established in 1976. While many luxury brands focus on subtle floral scents, L’Artisan Parfumeur, as the name suggests, is not afraid to experiment with the type of scents that it releases.
Taking inspiration from nature, the brand has released several unusual fragrances (including one inspired by bananas). One of the most famous scents by L’Artisan Parfumeur is the Séville à l’aube, which borrows notes from orange blossoms, incense, smoke, beeswax, flowers, and musk to form a one-of-a-kind, signature scent.
Besides perfumes, you can also purchase candles from the L’Artisan Parfumeur official website. To learn more about the history of the brand and the popularity of Séville à l’aube, you can check out this L’Artisan Parfumeur article.
Dealing in perfumes, skincare products, makeup, and cosmetics, Guerlain is a French company that is almost two centuries old. Founded in 1828 by Pierre Francois Pascal Guerlain, the company was owned within the family until 1994, when the Louis Vuitton group acquired it.
However, the acquisition by the luxury brand was not without its hiccups, and most loyal fans of the Guerlain brand felt that the new fragrances did not hold a candle to its original offerings. The brand’s most popular fragrances continue to be Jicky, Shalimar, and Vetiver.
Besides selling fragrances and cosmetics, Guerlain also runs several beauty spas. Among the thirteen spas it maintains, five are located within France, proving the brand’s loyalty to the French culture. The brand has also taken initiatives to make its products and manufacturing process more sustainable and environmentally responsible.
You can purchase products from this brand on the official Guerlain website.
Yves Saint Laurent
Yves Saint Laurent, founded by a man of the same name and Pierre Beerge in 1961, is a French luxury fashion house specializing in perfumes. This is another brand on the list that is owned by L’Oreal.
The brand has seen several different ownerships throughout its life and was even bought by Gucci in 1999. The rough history of the brand was in no small part affected by Yves Saint Laurent’s lifestyle, which was peppered with childhood bullying, partying, scandals, and a history of substance abuse.
However, all of this worked in Saint Laurent’s favor when it came to his art, and the brand became extremely popular in the decades following its initiation. You can learn more about Yves Saint Laurent’s life in this Guardian article, The Battle for His Life Story.
Apart from perfumes, Saint Laurent also offers other luxury items like high-end handbags, blazers, and footwear for women, most notably high heels. Lenny Kravitz and his daughter Zoe Kravitz have both been ambassadors for the French brand.
Specializing in clothing for both men and women and perfumes, the house of Thierry Mugler is a French luxury brand that is popular for its unabashed and excessive focus on sexuality and feminine aesthetics. Started by a man of the same name, Thierry Mugler landed in France when he was 24 and worked in fashion boutiques before starting his own brand.
The Thierry Mugler brand is also known for its work against racism and ageism with the use of art in the form of fashion. To stand out from the competition, the brand employed unconventional models like pornstars, drag queens, and transgender women to make a statement.
Thierry Mugler was away from his own brand for more than a decade, retiring in 2002 and returning as the creative advisor in 2013. Mugler’s designs found a public home in the wardrobes of a number of high-profile, popular musicians, including Lady Gaga, Beyonce, and Cardi B, along with public figures like Kim Kardashian.
The extent of Thierry Mugler’s influence can be noted by the fact that he has an exhibition dedicated to him in the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. You can learn more about him by checking out this Thierry Mugler page.
If you like themes of brightness, colors, and youth, Cacharel might just be the brand for you. This French brand focuses on apparel, accessories, and perfumes and has been around since 1962. Popular celebrities involved with the brand include Kate Moss, Laetitia Casta, and Gisele Bundchen.
Like other brands on the list, Cacharel also falls under the umbrella and is owned by L’Oreal. Perfumes like Anais Anais and Amor Amor have made Cacharel very popular in the women’s fragrances field. A series of perfumes called Yes I Am stands for women empowerment.
Besides this, ear and neck accessories by Cacharel are also very popular among young women. Cacharel advertises itself as the brand of the eternal state of youth. You can learn more about this by checking out the official Cacharel page.
Annick Goutal originally wanted to be a pianist but decided that the pursuit of curating and producing the best perfumes would be a better goal. This is what gave birth to Goutal Paris, a French perfume brand. Goutal Paris is a relatively newer brand compared to the other brands on this list, and Annick Goutal did not create her first signature perfume until 1981.
Famous perfumes by the brand include Folavril and L’Eau d’Hadrien, a unisex perfume that comes with fresh, citrus undertones. Although Annick Goutal passed away in 1999, the perfume brand keeps offering new and improved fragrances regularly. You can check out their collections on the official Goutal Paris page.
Goutal Paris not only boasts the branding of top Hollywood celebrities like Leonardo Dicaprio, Madonna, Sandra Bullock, and Nicole Kidman but is also a fan favorite among royalty. This Forbes article about Annick Goudal gives you a better insight into her life and what inspired her to create these perfumes for the world.
Founded by Maria Ricci and her son Robert in Paris, Nina Ricci is a French fashion house that is now owned by Spanish group Puig. The brand started with designs of luxury gowns for women, and over the years, Nina Ricci’s designs are known for being feminine and romantic.
This also holds true for the brand’s perfumes, which come with floral undertones and offer a hint of freshness. Nina Ricci’s most famous perfume remains the L’Air du Temps, created in 1948 by Robert Ricci.
Besides this, popular perfumes by the brand include Ricci Ricci, Love in Paris, Nina, Nina L’Elixir, and Nina L’Eau. You can purchase these perfumes and other products from Nina Ricci on the Nina Ricci official website.
Nina Ricci’s tight-fitting and shapely designs have been a part of celebrity wardrobes and are a regular appearance on red carpets all over the world. Notable names that have sported Nina Ricci outfits include Jennifer Aniston, Kim Kardashian, Paris Hilton, Gigi Hadid, and Reese Witherspoon. Learn more about this brand on the Nina Ricci wiki.
St. Germain Diptyque, often simply known as Diptyque, is a French luxury brand that specializes in perfumes. Besides perfumes and fragrances, the brand also produces scented candles and perfume oil diffusers, making it a popular name in the fragrances industry.
Popular scents by the brand include Eau Rose, Tam Dao, Do Son, and Fleur de Peau. Although the Manzanita Capital now owns it, Diptyque has managed to expand its operations internationally and has boutiques in cities like Tokyo, New York City, Hong Kong, Doha, Dubai, and Las Vegas.
Scented candles by Diptyque are some of the most popular ones in the world, endorsed by a number of celebrities like Beyonce, Meghan Markle, and Kate Hudson. Options include the Terrarium Candles, the Jar Scented Candles, and the Reactive Glaze candles.
The Bottom Line
Paris has always been the capital of luxury goods, including apparel, bags, footwear, and perfumes. In 2017, the city accounted for 5.9% of luxury store openings throughout the world. Based on the numbers themselves, you can see how the city, and indeed the country itself, are a hub of the best luxury products money can buy.
France has been associated with perfumery for the longest time, and history books are full of stories dating back to as far as 7000 BC that outline the rich culture of the creation and storage of perfumes. Therefore, it is only natural that most of the best perfume brands around the world find their roots in France.
In this article, we have outlined the best French perfume brands that you can choose from. If you’re interested in learning more about perfumes, their history, and how you can create your own, check out our other posts as well!