Want to buy yourself a French perfume but not sure what to get? This post will show you the best French perfume brands every classy woman should own!
Just like anything Fashion related, from haute couture, handbags to the best jewelry brands, France is also known for having one of the strongest and most luxurious perfume industry.
The country is home to most of the world-famous perfumeries that have taken the world of perfumes to the next level.
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While you may be familiar with the likes of Dior and Chanel, there are so many French perfume brands that have become trend setters throughtout the years.
So, to make it easier for you to find signature scents and cult classics, here is a guide to the 17 best French perfume brands that you need to own.
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Best French Perfume Brands
Many of these French fragrance brands started off as fashion houses, so you might recognize the names and associate them with clothing.
To complement the unique styles they design, the Houses diversified into creating French scents that are now so iconic that French women may not own a piece of clothing from that brand but will own a fragrance from it.
So, without any further ado, here is a list of the best French perfume brands.
Chanel, established in 1910 by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, is a brand that started off as a hat boutique, expanded into a sportswear brand that turned into a full-fledged Couture House and perfumery brand.
Eventually, it broadened its scope into selling makeup, skincare, high-end jewelry, and French luxury handbags.
Gabrielle Chanel launched the iconic Chanel N°5 as the first perfume of the brand in 1921, and it has found a place on women’s dressing tables ever since.
In a way, you could call it “parfum de France” for its popularity and widespread possession.
It is one of those signature scents that have a place in every perfume collection, be it for its floral fragrance or purely for posterity.
>>> Click here to buy Chanel N°5 <<<
Maison Guerlain was established in 1828, making it one of the oldest French perfume companies.
It is one of those legendary French perfume brands that can give tough competition to Chanel’s iconic N°5 with its signature Shalimar scent.
The strong and sensual scent, named after a garden in Srinagar, India, was created in 1921 by Jacques Guerlain and has since been their bestselling perfume.
The brand even has connections with royalty. It created a signature scent called l’Eau de Cologne Impériale with a dedicated bee bottle to Empress Eugénie when she married Napoleon III.
Since then, the Maison has expanded into makeup and skincare.
3. Christian Dior
When listing famous French perfumes how can Miss Dior be missed? It was the first perfume, launched in 1947, from La Maison Dior that Christian Dior dedicated to his sister, Catherine.
Subsequently, decades later, the House came out with other iconic fragrances, such as the floral-fruity scent called J’Adore, the fresh-floral scent called Joy, and the sensual-mysterious scent called Poison. All of these are now bestsellers.
Dior’s chic fragrances are now associated with French women, kind of like a signature scent.
>>> Click here to buy Miss Dior <<<
4. Memo Paris
Memo Paris has an interesting story behind its creation. Its founders, wife-husband duo Clara and John Molloy, got their inspiration from their travels.
They see fragrance as a journey that transports the wearer to destinations known and unknown.
With this in mind, their perfumes, cases, and bath products all keep in mind the traveler in you.
Their unisex perfumes exude a sense of freshness and are long-lasting, or in the words of the brand, “The skin memorizes the scents.”
Their most popular fragrance is called Eau de Memo, created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the brand. They even have a collection to remind you of leather bags carried while traveling.
5. Nina Ricci
This French perfume brands list would be incomplete without mentioning Nina Ricci and the House’s signature citrus scent, Nina.
The brand was established in 1932 by Maria Nina Ricci and her son, Robert Ricci, as a fashion house. Robert expanded it to a perfume division in 1941.
Subsequently, the first perfume was released a couple of years later called Coeur Joie. But it was their scent, L’Air du Temps, that created a splash and made the brand famous. It remains one of the House’s bestsellers to date.
Besides the memorable scent, their uniquely shaped signature bottles are preserved by women as keepsakes.
Another French brand that started off as a fashion house and later expanded into a perfumery is Mugler.
Thierry Mugler was a tailor, so he launched his own label in 1974. Later on, the House launched its first perfume in 1990 in collaboration with the Clarins Group.
The 90s saw the launch of its first bestseller, Angel, a sweet and fresh fragrance in a diamond-colored star-shaped bottle.
The 2000s saw the launch of the 2nd bestseller, Alien, a woody fragrance with an amber base, in an amethyst-colored jewel-shaped bottle. Both these signature scents quickly became bestsellers.
Mugler eventually made their bottles refillable by providing dual sources.
>>> Click here to buy Mugler’s Angel <<<
French fragrance brands that started as fashion houses have another addition, Chloé.
Founded in 1952 by French designer Gabriella “Gaby” Aghion, it launched its signature perfume only in 1975. The 1970s also saw Karl Lagerfeld join Chloé as the sole designer.
Their fragrances and designs all embody young and modern women. The eponymous Chloé Eau de Parfum is floral, feminine, and has a powdery scent that girls and women have been purchasing since its launch to add a Parisian flair to their collections.
The classic fragrance is now associated with a lot of French women.
Annick Goutal, an eponymous brand earlier that is now known solely by the family name, Goutal, was established by Annick Goutal in 1981.
Her knack for composing fragrances made her leave her pianist career behind to follow her passion.
She created perfumes that were just like her — delicate, fresh, and avant-garde, which caught people’s attention and captivated their senses.
Her first scent, Eau d’Hadrien, inspired by the summery Tuscan hills of Italy, will transport you to the summer vacation you’ve been longing for.
Eventually, her daughter, Camille Goutal, took over to manage the House and carry the brand forward.
The perfumery uses authentic raw materials and is environmentally conscious. Their bottles have been refillable since the inception of the Maison and can be returned for recycling.
Lancôme is a French luxury merchandise company established by Guillaume d’Ornano and Armand Petitjean in 1935 as a perfume house.
It later diversified into cosmetics and skincare and was acquired by L’Oréal close to 3 decades after it was started.
One of its French scents that became a fast favorite among women was Trésor, which has a floral fragrance.
Lancôme believes in being environmentally sustainable, so they use organic methods to cultivate some of their ingredients. You can also refill and recycle your perfume bottles.
10. Lolita Lempicka
Lolita Lempicka started off as a tailor/designer who opened her eponymous boutique to sell vintage clothes.
She unveiled her perfume line in 1997 with the launch of Mon Premier Parfum. But the fragrance that caught on was Le Parfum.
With its woodsy and fruity tones providing an instant sense of freshness, women loved it and bought bottle after bottle of it.
Lolita’s entire family, comprising her husband, twin daughters, and eldest daughter, gets involved while creating new collections and fragrances. So, it is quite literally a family affair.
11. Ex Nihilo
Ex Nihilo is one of the newer entrants in this list of perfumes made in France. Founded in 2013 by a young trio comprising Sylvie Loday, Olivier Royère, and Benoît Verdier, this brand specializes in fragrance customization.
Their goal is to offer it at a cost lying between luxury and mass production while providing creative freedom to its creators.
You can even pick an existing perfume from their Babylone or Initiale collections and add a personalized touch to it with a range of raw materials at your disposal.
In a short period, they have been able to open flagship stores in major cities across the world because of this disruptive ideology.
Mentioning famous French perfumes and leaving out Hermès would be a mistake! Established in 1837, Hermès boasts of being a family-run brand for 6 generations.
However, it wasn’t until 1949 that they ventured into perfumes.
The iconic Twilly d’Hermès, with its signature pink bottle with a hat-like top and a silk ribbon that resembles a scarf on one’s neck, is as Parisian as one can get. It also has a powdery but sweet floral fragrance that cannot be missed.
But the honor of being the first perfume belongs to Eau d’Hermès, with its fruity and spicy blend.
Another favorite among women is Calèche, a feminine, floral yet woody fragrance whose name is an ode to the House’s emblem.
Jean Bousquet launched Cacharel as a ready-to-wear clothing brand in 1958. Two decades later, it expanded to creating perfumes in partnership with L’Oréal.
Many French fragrances have been popular among young women and bestsellers over decades and an addition to this list is Cacharel’s iconic floral fragrance, Anaïs Anaïs.
It was launched way back in 1978 but still continues to hold a place in the hearts of women. Imagine possessing the title of being one of the bestselling in the world.
Their adventurous scent, Amor Amor, was launched in 2003 and quickly gained appeal. They also proudly claim that all their perfumes are made in France.
>>> Click here to buy Amor Amor <<<
14. Maison Francis Kurkdjian
Marc Chaya’s encounter with distinguished French perfumer Francis Kurkdjian, creator of Le Mâle by Jean Paul Gaultier, led to a collaboration and establishment of Maison Francis Kurkdjian in 2009.
It might be the baby on this list, but its perfumes speak for themselves.
When you think of a Parisian perfume, Petit Matin and l’Eau à la Rose are what will come to your mind.
These two French fragrances will remind you of Paris in spring, with flowers in full bloom basking in the sunlight of countryside meadows.
The men need not worry either because this Maison has French colognes and unisex parfums that are equally fragrant and exude sophistication.
Niche perfume brand Diptyque was founded in 1961 by Christiane Montadre-Gautrot, Yves Coueslant, and Desmond Knox-Leet.
What started off as a fabric store turned into a perfume importing company, ultimately becoming a perfume house to create its own line of French fragrances, scented candles, and oil diffusers.
The fruity Philosykos is one of its bestsellers and a cult classic. If you took an entire fig tree – right from its roots and leaves to its sap and fruit topped off with a hint of spiciness, and put it into a bottle, that’s what Philosykos smells like.
>>> Click here to buy Philosykos <<<