Paris may still be the perfume capitol of the world, but the opening of La Petite Parfumerie brings the world’s best scents right under our noses.
Owner Diane Wissink has been in the perfume business since she opened Cherie Boutique Francaise in Wayzata in 2003; in 2010, she moved the boutique to Excelsior and changed the name to La Petite Parfumerie, carrying makeup and fragrances as well as skin-care and hair-care products. With her latest move to the newly renovated Southdale shopping center, she has refocused exclusively on hard-to-find niche and luxury fragrances.
The difference between luxury and commercial fragrances, Wissink explains, is that the former are made with real ingredients, such as plant and flower extracts, rather than synthetic ones. And the difference in quality is palpable: These scents are more vibrant, rich, and complex than their artificial counterparts.
Some lines come with storied histories, such as luxury candle maker Cire Trudon. Founded in 1643, it’s the oldest candle manufacturer in the world and was an official provider to the royal court of Louis XIV. Others are decidedly more contemporary: One of the shop’s most exclusive lines, Frédéric Malle’s Editions de Parfums, consists of fragrances commissioned from the world’s top perfumers. And while the cozy shop carries primarily French perfumes, there are some notable exceptions from Italy (Santa Maria Novella) and Sweden (Agonist Parfums).
Though it may seem intimidating at first, shopping the store is made easy by a user-friendly labeling system that breaks down the notes, ingredients, and price on each jar. “If you find a citrus floral you like, you can easily find another citrus floral to try,” Wissink says. And a jar of pre-sprayed gauze handily placed behind each scent gives shoppers a good idea of how it smells on the skin after 20 minutes of application.
At $125 to $250 a bottle, these sought-after fragrances aren’t cheap—but compared to a plane ticket to Paris, they’re a bargain.
La Petite Parfumerie
10 Southdale Center, Edina