Osmothéque of Versailles!

Back to my beloved Versailles. This one is so off the beaten path things to see in the city that you need reservation from the city tourist office or the Osmothéque itself. It is not open any time you need to make prior reservation ok. Just to show you Versailles has some unique places, a lot more than most think of only the palace/museum! I will update text and links for you and me. Hope you enjoy it as I.  This a perfum museum sort of or a historical reservoir of scents going back milleniums, and is call the Osmothéque of Versailles. They claim to be the World’s only frangrance archives! I have been once out of curiosity taken advantage of my boys school trip here. But if you are into perfumes well forget the others come to the roots of it at Versailles!

The Osmothéque museum , archives as you like is located at 36 Rue du Parc de Clagny,  inside the school ISIPCA (Institut supérieur international du parfum, de la cosmétique et de l’aromatique alimentaire or in my best English ; International Higher Institute of Perfume, Cosmetics and Food Aromatics). You can reach it from Paris Saint Lazare to my old Rive Droite train station in Versailles end of terminus. Once at train station go out and turn right on Rue du Maréchal Foch , bear right and turn right at Avenue du Général Mangin and continue on same street later name Avenue de Villeneuve l’Etang ,take a quick left into 36 Rue du Parc de Clagny, the Osmothéque is on your right hand side of the street. I never measure it but google says is 1,2 km or 16 minutes walking, and I tell you doing this into nice residencial neighborhood.  Or if like to take the wonderful Phebus bus network   from the Rive Droite train station take bus line 3   stop/arrêt “De Bange” ou “Saint-Jean” ou “Place La Boulaye”) or bus line 1 stop/arrêt “De Bange”. For the information/reservation call +33 (0) 1 39 23 70 00. 

Versailles parfums-museum-osmothéque

The Osmothèque, is the only conservatory tracing the history of perfumery. Founded in 1990 by Jean Kerléo and other confirmed perfumers, such as Jean-Claude Ellena and Guy Robert, the Osmothèque is responsible at the international level for the authentication, registration, preservation, documentation and reproduction of fragrances, all archived in their original formulation at the Osmothèque depot and viewable by the public. There are a large number of masterpieces of perfumery, including some rare fragrances (because they are no longer produced elsewhere or according to the same formula) as the Cyprus of François Coty, the Eau de Cologne extra old by Jean-Marie Farina or even the Royal Fern of Paul Parquet. Many historical fragrances are also available, such as those of Elisabeth of Poland, Napoleon 1er or Eugénie de Montijo (wife Napoleon III).

A bit of history I like

The creation of this first conservatory of perfume was initially proposed to the French Society of Perfumers in 1976 by Jean Kerléo, perfumer at Jean Patou, in order to record and preserve the history of perfumery. When in 1988, the project received the support of both the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Versailles-Val-d’Oise-Yvelines and the French Perfume Committee, a storage facility was provided at the premises of ISIPCA (see above). The Osmothèque was officially founded on April 26, 1990 with a first collection of 400 fragrances including reproductions of the Osmothèque and products supplied by perfume houses such as Chanel, Guerlain or Lanvin.

The Osmothèque represents the largest perfume archive in the world, storing more than 4 000 fragrances of the present and past (including 800 extinct), mostly in their original formulation and preserved at a constant temperature under argon atmosphere. The fragrances present in the collection are either reconstituted from the formulas archived by   the Osmothèque’s internal perfumers (known as osmothécaires) or supplied by external perfume houses, analysed and authenticated by the Osmothécaires archivists. As legal deposit archives, the Osmothèque receives a supply of all the new perfumes produced in France and a large part of the world, in addition to those obtained by its program of acquisition of compositions. The institution also collects a library of materials used in perfumery, both natural and synthetic, historical and contemporary. A vault, inaccessible to the public, finally contains the historical fragrance formulas, unfortunately largely unusable because of the raw materials not found today. In the rarities contained in the Osmothèque are included elements of ancient perfumery, as the Royal scent of the Parthian kings described by Pliny the Elder in the 1C, medieval eau de cologne of the 14C as the water of Elisabeth of Poland’s Hungary and powders of the 18C as the powder of Cyprus The collection also counts 19C perfumes of houses such as Farina, Guerlain, Houbigant, Lubin, F. Mayo, L.T. Piver and Roger & Gallet, including the Eau de Cologne extra old by Jean-Marie Farina of 1806 and the Imperial Eau de Cologne of Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain created for Emperatrice Eugénie de Montijo in 1853. In the same period there is also the Eau de Cologne made for Napoleon in 1815 during his exile on the island of St. Helena. Most of the archives of the Osmothèque is devoted to modern perfumery (beginning at the end of the 19C), presenting countless original masterpieces now extinct or reformulated, as the forbidden Fruit of Rosine fragrances created by Henri Alméras, the Cyprus and Emerald of François Coty, Le Tabac blond de Caron by Ernest Daltroff, Jicky of Aimé Guerlain, Royal Fern of Paul Parquet for Houbigant or even Parfum Idéal by Houbigant. Countless bestsellers are also present in their original formulas such as Chanel No. 5 created by Ernest Beaux, Shalimar by Jacques Guerlain and the Eau Savage of Christian Dior by Edmond Roudnitska.

The Osmothèque also publishes books on the theme of perfumes, in addition to a bilingual periodical entitled The News of the Osmothèque, available online and at the bookshop of the Osmothèque.

Some webpages to help you plan your visit here are:

The official Osmothéque of Versailles webpage: https://www.osmotheque.fr/en/

The Yvelines dept 78 tourist office on the Osmothéque of Versailles: https://www.sortir-yvelines.fr/Art-et-culture/Art-et-culture-dans-les-Yvelines/musee-yvelines/osmotheque-musee-parfum-versailles

There you go folks, a wonderful off the beaten path Osmothéque even in popular Versailles! Yes we have perfumes too amazing isn’t it!  Hope you the post and do visit worth your while.  And remember, happy travels, good health,and many cheers to all!!!

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