Le Musee du Parfum or Perfume Museum in Paris
Occupying a traditional 1800s townhouse, the Musee du Parfum is often known as the Scribe Museum due to its location or the Musee du Perfum Fragonard, and is a privately run perfume museum owned by the Fragonard fragrance company.
A bit of history
It all started shortly before World War I, when an entrepreneur by the name of Eugene Fuchs who was already passionate about fragrances, decided to set up a perfumery with the novel concept of selling perfumery products to tourists that were flocking to the Cote d’Azur or French Riviera, as it is also known.
Opened in 1926 in the town of Grasse, Eugene Fuchs chose to name the perfume company after a famous French painter by the name of Jean-Honore Fragonard who was born in Grasse, and as a tribute to 18th century arts.
The same spirit and loyalty has continued through the generations and under the ownership of Jean-Francois Costa, the Fragonard Perfumery rapidly expanded, and as an avid art collector, he also amassed a large collection of antiques related to the perfume industry, which was why the first museum in Grasse was opened.
About Musee du Parfum Fragonard Perfume
Yet with the rich history of perfume dating back to the royal courts of the Chateau de Versailles and Paris being known as the perfume capital of the world, what better place to open up a perfume museum than in the heart of this fabulous city.
So, in 1983, the Musee du Parfum, which is also known as the Scribe Museum or the Musee de la Parfum Fragonard was opened up within a beautiful Napoleon III townhouse that was built in 1860 by Joseph Lesoufache, who was a student of Charles Garnier, the designer of the Palais Garnier Opera House located close by.
This museum in Paris is ideally located within the elegant setting that is entirely original, where you can discover a unique collection of perfumery objects as you go back through the ages and retrace the history of perfume right through from the Egyptians to the 19th century, and even more up to date like men's aftershaves.
On display are old ornate bottles, incense burners, paintings, engravings, raw materials, test tubes and presentations of different plants that are utilised in the production process of making unique fragrances.
Fragonard now have the largest collection of its kind in the world and anyone interested in discovering more about the world of fragrances will thoroughly enjoy the Musee du Parfum, which also shows the history of bottling and extraction techniques, that is still being continued with the same passion by the daughters of Jean-Francois Costa.
Guided tours by a professional guide who is also an expert in perfumery are organised daily, which last approximately 30 minutes and being completely free of charge, they are available in French and English.
Alternatively, there are specific talks called Olfactory Talks, which are held on a Thursday, normally once a month at 6:30pm, and with a duration of 90 minutes, they have a variety of topics with an expert guide who could be an art historian, perfumer, a curator, etc.
In addition to this, there is also another perfume museum in Paris that the Fragonard company have opened up, which is called the Le Theatre Musee des Capucines where you can discover a mock-up of a 19th century factory, plus at both of these they have a boutique where you can purchase your favourite perfume, aftershave, sets, soaps and more.
Visiting the Musee du Parfum Museum in Paris
Located in the 9th Arrondissement only a short walk from the Palais Garnier, which is the famous opera in Paris, you will find this museum is open on a Monday to Saturday from 9am through to 6pm, yet is closed on Sundays and during most National French holidays such as 1st May.
So with this in mind, it may be an idea to check that the Fragonard museum is open, if you are going to be on holiday in Paris during major festivities, but you will be pleased to know that there is free entry plus you can have a guided tour of the prestigious Musee du Parfum in Paris completely free of charge as well.
However, we would like to point out that last entry to the Musee du Parfum Fragonard is one hour before closing time, and after the terror attacks with the new legislation that was put in place, no large bags, rucksacks, etc are allowed into the museum.
The guided tours are conducted by a professional guide who is an expert in perfumery and conducted every 20 minutes, which are available in both French and English, with no prior reservations necessary.
The Olfactory Talks conducted on a Thursday are a cost of €15 per person as of 2018, and you will need to check out their program on the website or contact the Musee du Parfum for further details of the topics and schedule.
Access to the Musee du Parfum Fragonard
If you are travelling on the public transport in Paris then via the RER trains you would need the train station called the Auber stop serving the RER A line.
However, the closest metro station is called the Opera stop serving lines 3, 7 and 8, yet a little further walk to the east and you have the Chaussee d'Antin La Fayette stop serving lines 7 and 9, to the west you have the Madeleine stop serving lines 8, 12 and 14 and to the north you have the Havre - Caumartin stop serving lines 3 and 9.
Alternatively the bus lines 20, 21, 22, 27, 29, 42, 52, 53, 66, 68, 81 and 95 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N15 and N16 will also get you within walking distance of the Fragonard Perfume Museum and numerous other tourist attractions in the area.
For those of you arriving in Paris directly from the Charles de Gaulle airport, you may also be pleased to know that the dedicated airport bus service called RoissyBus also has a stop opposite the Palais Garnier on the Rue Scribe, which is very close to the Musee du Parfum, plus the bus tours in Paris such as l’Open Tour will also get you nearby.