Want to smell like a royal? We’re exploring the scents favored by the famed French court in Versailles during the 18th century and recommending fun products you can try today in their honor.
Louis XIV (1638-1715)
King Louis XIV, also known as the ‘Sun King,’ was the longest reigning French monarch in history. He is well-known for his affinity for Versailles palace. He relocated the French aristocracy and government itself to Versailles and embarked on many building projects to expand the estate. Louis XIV was also nicknamed le doux fleurant or the ‘sweet flowery one.’
Despite the splendor of Versailles, it was a strange smelling place. People didn’t think of hygiene in the same way we do today. Even wealthy aristocrats only bathed occasionally. Most believed that water opened up your pores, which made you more vulnerable to infectious diseases. In order to combat all of the less pleasant bodily odours of palace residents, perfume became incredibly popular.
Louis was so passionate about perfumery that he commissioned his perfumer to create a new scent for every day of the week. He also favored perfumes for aesthetic and medicinal purposes. One of Louis’ doctors created a scent dispersal system called the ‘cassolette’ to help alleviate ‘bad air.’
Want to try a scent inspired by the Sun King? Towards the end of his life, it is rumored the only scent the King could tolerate after so many years of excess was orange blossom. Wash up like a king with the Lothantique Orange Blossom soap. This French-milled soap is moisturizing and great for any skin type. Plus, it leaves your skin delicately scents like Louis would have loved.
Louis XV (1715-1774)
During the reign of King Louis XV, the great grandson of the Sun King, perfumes were in even higher demand. In fact, his court became known as la cour parfumée or the ‘perfumed court.’ Louis supposedly required a different scent for every room at Versailles and scents to flow in every fountain. He appointed the first royal perfumer, Jean Fargeon, to meet his fragrant needs.
The king was also very passionate about horses. He commissioned his perfumer to create unique scents to celebrate his favourite horses. Meanwhile, the King’s famous mistress, the Marquise de Pompadour, had a yearly budget of 500 livres for perfumes (the equivalent of 63,500 American dollars today).
A painting for the Marquise, ‘Pot-Pourri de Pompadour,’ depicts a Chinese porcelain jar, which she loved, filled with coriander, mint, rosemary, lemon, orris root and more. Scent your home inspired by the palace of Versailles with the Christian Tortu Citrus Garden Pot-Pourri. The beautiful decorative crystals have notes of bergamot, pine, cedar, mint, and musk.
Or follow Louis’ lead and use a unique scent for each room in your home with one of our fragrance diffusers or room sprays. Create your own ‘perfumed court’ with dozens of stunning scents to choose from.
Perhaps one of the most famous French figures in history, Marie-Antoinette was married to King XVI. The queen was known for her decadent lifestyle and later execution by French revolutionaries. While she likely never said the iconic ‘let them eat cake’ that is attributed to her, she did have a passion for entertaining, aesthetics, and she was known for her refined tastes. She had a budget of 258,000 livres (3.2 million USD) for her wardrobe alone, which led many to nickname her Madame Déficit.
Luxury perfumes also reached a peak under Louis XVI. During this period, perfumery became officially divorced from medicine and held as an art form in and of itself. The queen’s favorite perfumers included Jean-Louis Fargeon and Jean-François Houbigant. She was particularly fond of roses. Fargeon created for her the Parfum du Trianon. The dominant note was roses, but it also contained orange blossom, lavender, musk, and a touch of vanilla to reference her Austrian childhood.
In contrast to Marie-Antionette’s lavish lifestyle, she was said to have romanticized simple country living. She enjoyed lighter floral scents, fresh grasses, and wood smells. Explore our popular Chemin de Roses collection that would have fit perfectly with the queen’s favored aesthetics with notes of rose, amber and musk in each product.
What scents remind you of royalty? We’d love to hear from you.