Marie Christophe, Guerlain and Cour des Senteurs

As Paris is only two weeks away, I thought it was an opportune time to write about the amazing confluence of events that led to this post. Last summer when I escorted my daughters on their first trip to Paris, we made the pilgrimage to Versailles, including a visit to the Cour des Senteurs, thanks to my good friends at The Buzz. Opened last April to coincide with the city’s grand celebration of the 400th anniversary of the birth of Le Notre (designer of Louis XIV’s gardens), it is a complex dedicated to the tradition of fragrance. The birthplace, in the 17th century, of perfumer as a profession, Versailles is also home to the Institut Supérieur International du Parfum, the only international diploma training for those in the perfume industry.

Maison des parfums at the Cour des SenteursAnchoring the square of the Cour des Senteurs is the Maison des Parfums, a fun sensory mini learning center about the history of perfume, conceived of by historian, professor and perfume expert Elisabeth De Feydeau, author of A Scented Palace and more recently, From Marie Antoinette’s Garden: An Eighteenth-Century Horticultural Album, which Courtney at Style Court explored here.

Cour des SenteursThis opens onto the Place des Senteurs, a courtyard featuring a small garden of varied fragrances, anchored by four great names in French luxury, all connected to the world of scent. A Diptyque boutique carries its unique home fragrances including an exclusive presentation box of three mini-candles echoing the Garden of Fragrances.

Marie Christophephoto via mason fabre

Fourth generation glove maker Maison Fabre, above, features its collection of exquisite handware including the revival of scented gloves, a fashion trend during Louis XVI’s reign. Lenôtre offers sweet and savory creations including a special glitter-sprinkled macaron pailleté filled with jasmine flower preserve in honor of Marie-Antoinette’s favorite flower.

guerlain versaillesvia

And lastly Guerlain, where house perfumer Thierry Wasser, inspired by the gardens at the chateau, created a perfume with notes of jasmine exclusively for the boutique. Designed by architect Patricia Grosdemange, and inspired by the legacy of artistic patronage at Versailles, the space features the best of French workmanship. Tradition meets innovation with boiserie by famed Féau & Cie, an enormous sculpture on glass conceived by Nicolas d’Olce and interpreted by Bernard Pictet, below

Marie Christopoheand a large stone wall sculpture of the Guerlain symbol, the star of the Sun King, by Pierre-Louis Dietschy, below.

Marie Christophe at Guerlain at the Cour des Senteurs

In front of the symbol, in the double story space, hangs a stunning chandelier, which I inquired about to no avail. A seemingly modern version of a chandelier in the palace, it echoes the yellow of the sun king and the color of Marie Antoinette’s favorite jasmine, adding a glittering radiance that is both elegant and whimsical.

Marie Christophe at Guerlain Cours des Senteursphotos of boutique above by Gaya Beco

Later in the summer, I serendipitously received an email from and began a correspondence with Lisa Fontanarosa, a curator of sorts, representing an unusual collection of artists around the world who create sculpture and decorative art for the home. I immediately recognized the whimsical and witty works of Marie Christophe, who, as I’m sure you’ve surmised, was commissioned by Guerlain to create the work above. A sculptor living in Toulouse, she was indeed inspired by the crystal originals in the palace as well as the gilded bees on vintage Guerlain bottles. Her LED chandelier is 7 feet high and includes flea market crystals as well as some crafted by contemporary artisans.

Marie Christophe

As it turns out, she has collaborated with many other distinguished brands as well. How charming are these penguins she created for Roger Vivier?

Marie Christophe

Marie Christophe

Her collection includes a wide variety of decorative wire works that are both functional lighting, like this Lustre fixture with wooden beads

Marie Christophe

or cheeky Mr. and Mrs. Lamps, part of her Sixties collection,

Marie Christophe Mr and Mrs Lamps

or custom Ibiza, somewhere in-between hat, umbrella and globe,

Marie Christophe

to purely decorative such as her nature inspired sculptures, like Piu Piu

Marie Christophe più piu

or Grue

Marie Christophe grue

With schooling in both graphic art and interior architecture, Marie balances form and function so that her work is equally suited to a mas in Provence

Marie Christophe lustre Rose

as to a modern dining room in Barcelona.

Marie Christophe

and she does custom work in case you didn’t see the perfect piece for your home. Any inquiries about Marie Christophe are fielded through architects or designers to Lisa’s office. And next time you are making the trek to Versailles, be sure to stop by the Cour des Senteurs, where you can learn, shop, have a snack and even take a perfume class at Guerlain. It’s a busy day in the city of scent.


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12 Responses to Marie Christophe, Guerlain and Cour des Senteurs

  1. Stacey, Are you heading to Paris in two weeks? So am I – two weeks from today I’ll be hopping a flight. Perhaps we can meet up if schedules permit? I’ll email you.

    If I make it to Versailles I will most definitely stop by the Cour des Senteurs! I’m enchanted by the creations of Marie Christophe. Those penguins are a delight. Love her whimsical yet beautiful style.

    Happy New Year to you! XO

  2. Elizabeth Simpson says:

    Absolutely beautiful blog.

  3. franki says:

    Beautiful chandies!! franki

  4. Cathy Austin says:

    These are so charming! Wonderful post. Have a fabulous time in Paris!

  5. Karin Eaton says:

    Serendipity and 6 degrees of separation make for fun blog posts!

  6. So much to learn from this post! Love it.

  7. pretty pink tulips says:

    Happy New Year!!
    What a wonderful find, Stacey!! I am a bit of Diptyque fanatic. I always come back to their wonderful candles and their satin oil is my all time favorite for spritzing on post-shower.

    Marie’s works are whimsical and theatrical! I hope you and Jeanne are able to meet up. Wish I could be there!!
    xo Elizabeth

  8. yeah, so nice blog about Marie Christophe, Guerlain and Cour des Senteurs, thank you so much for sharing such a brilliant stuff. Really Loved It. Thank You for so nice stuff. Beautiful home and interior decoration. really love it.

  9. Thank you Stacey…wow can’t wait to be back in Versailles and visit ” la cour des senteurs” !
    Best- Sylvie

  10. That was a wonderful read today. thank you. I adore Versailles and recently found out why via my ancestry, life is interesting.

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