When I arrived in Southern Burgundy a couple of months ago, I could never imagine that I would come across one of the most important private perfume collection in the world!
There it is, 5 minutes away from me, nestled in a magnificent XVIIth century manor in Prissé, a place reknown for its white wine – Le Musée du Parfum, a project from Nathalie Lancier, a real lecythiophile* (perfume collector)who has accumulated over 4000 pieces of Perfume Art over 40 years, at a time when people could not possibly know the value of some pieces, some of them going back to 1820! Lalique and Baccarat crystal bottles sit along the first 4711 Cologne bottle belonging to Napoleon I, and next to an important collection of Czech bottles and Russian perfumes.
Nathalie is originally from Hungary and was a hydraulic engineer who at first, was passionate about glass-blowing and glass-making. Rapidly, her interest turned to the Art of perfumery itself and she even created her own brand, ‘La magie du parfum’, offering a collection of fragrances for the youth.
I could not resist taking pictures of some of my ancestors’ fragrances and powders, Gellé Frères but I also bought the latest must-have book by Bernard Gangler, ‘Parfums de collection’ (available in French) in which this expert in perfume collection for auction houses and founder of the perfumery group, Galaxie and Espace Parfumerie in Paris, has listed over 1000 perfume bottles from the XIXth and XXth century with their actual market value. This book is a real bible for collection perfumes and helps the collector browse and look for valuable collector’s items.
”Never mind the exhilaration, as long as we own the bottle’ – Perfume collector’s quotation
* Lecythiophile: from the Greek word “lêkuthos”, which is a type of Greek pottery in which one put perfumes and precious oils, and “phile” which is derived from the Greek word for love.
As part of the Level 3 Certificate in perfumery Art offered by the Perfumery Art School UK, students will – as of next year – have the opportunity to attend a practical course at Le Musée du Parfum, where they will be able to practise their Art while staying in one of the beautiful character rooms of the guest house, part of the XVIIth century manor.
This was one of the most exciting and unexpected tours I have had for a long time. Nathalie does not charge for the visits but an appointment is required. The Museum is open 7 days a week all year long.
For more information about Le Musée du Parfum in South Burgundy, visit: www.museeduparfum.com