You know that you have walked into the most divine Parisian store when you open the doors to Cire Trudon. In fact, you are entering the shop of the oldest wax and candle manufacturer still in operation (see website history here). Originally founded by a wax merchant named Trudon in 1643, the French company has changed hands a few times over the four centuries and began it's current retail revolution in 2006 when it furnished the candles for the product-accurate production of Sofia Coppola's film Marie Antoinette. After all, Cire Trudon really did actually manufacture candles for the royal court of Versailles, most churches, wealthy families, and was the official royal wax manufacturer for Napoleon in the 1700's. Cire Trudon flamed again in 1948, producing candles for the prestigious fashion houses of Hermes, Cartier, Dior, and Guerlain. In 2007, Cire Trudon was purchased by an innovative man named Ramdame Touhami who has managed to position the oldest candle company into high court, successfully entering the royal court (so to speak) of todays' crowded candle market. If only Marie Antoinette could see them now.
~ Napoleon ~
Though I am highly fragrance-sensitive and smelling too much scent can quickly give me a migraine (it is not a fair world), I put that potential risk aside in the interest of a good story and let the most knowledgeable sales attendant lift each glass cloche and instruct me to inhale the distilled scent from the inside of the over sized glass cloches. This method of absorbing each individual scent was new to me before attending the Maison et Objet show and I found it a method that eliminated any competing scents. So why wasn't I feeling the typical pain after all that inhalation?
~ Marie Antoinette en Noir ~
~ Marie Antoinette en Ivoire ~
What distinguishes Cire Trudon in today's candle market is a combination of many things. Besides the history, the interior, the service, the packaging, all of which make for a memorable shopping experience. But what sets Cire Trudon apart for me are two things, their unique and classical French bust moulds, and the actual candle quality. Price equals quality in many products and nowhere is that equation more apparent than in candle quality.The top-secret Trudon manufacturing recipe is 100's of years old and it remains the same today. Cire Trudon candles are 100% paraffin-free and devoid of any secondary minerals derived from petrochemicals. Certainly more expensive, but with none of the harmful and dangerous chemicals so painfully-tolerated by many in cheaper brands. That difference is relevant today and I will devote a upcoming post on candles and the latest research in respect to health.
A description of each scent is rendered in gold calligraphy.
Odalisque ~ Orange Blossom
Odalisque ~ Orange Blossom
My absolute favourite. Isn't she a beauty?
In bringing back travel treats for my friends I always look for something special, something petite and easy to pack or carry. Those petite and colourful votive seen on the front table with the wax cameo were my gift of choice and in order to carefully carry them back I was forced to check my carry-on bag. But a girl has to do what a girl has to do in order to gift her friends with special little treats.
It must be the fragrant work environment. Hugo our sales attendant at the Cire Trudon flagship store in Paris (78 rue de Seine) was so charming, so considerate and attentive, certainly he could be one of the shop's best assets along with the product and gorgeous toile-patterned interior. After making my selections, we left my purchases with Monsieur Hugo, went for a short walk and returned to find each of the 14 petite candles expertly wrapped and twisted in black tissue and sealed with the stunning Cire Trudon label. Tucked into my shopping bag was a thoughtful surprise, a generous quantity of their exquisite product book, truthfully a gift in itself. I am sure we were not the biggest customer of the day, but the gracious Hugo made us feel that way.
The gold-embossed labels are produced exclusively for Cire Trudon by the oldest champagne label maker in France.
So many titled with clever scent associations, so few hands to carry it all home. A few I was sorry to leave behind........Roi Soleil ~ the waxed wood of Versailles, Spiritus Sancti ~ subtle but unmistakably church incense, and Trianon ~ a floral homage to Marie Antoinette. Take your time, you will be inhaling some remarkable and unusual scents.
The gorgeous Cire Trudon product book has beautiful drawings and descriptive text in French and English, a petite history book if you will. For my larger boxed candles I chose Ernesto as my wintry scent of choice. The masculine scent captured the essence of leather chairs, a roaring fire, rows of books, with a hint of tobacco........the distant whiff of a Havana cigar perhaps.
Feeling like you want to see these waxen busts for yourself? Aren't you in luck if you live in New York where the first North American Cire Trudon shop is opening this week? Here is a press release link from the NY Times. You can also order online at Barneys New York. Though not seen in this photo, antique mirrors were incorporated into the design of the NY store, a reference to the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. As we know, nothing reflects the glow of candles better than mirrors.
Cire Trudon - New York
54 Bond Street
Manhattan, New York
Due to be launched this November, Cire Trudon is boldly introducing a cheeky but unique entry into the home fragrance market as well. Stink Bombs (no kidding) but done in the most elegant of fashion, something designed to amuse the home fragrance market. Each gold tin holds 5 glass vials, break them open and let the interior perfume blast your home or garden environment with intense fragrance, fashionably stinky in all the right places.
Top twelve photos by Sande Chase ~ A Gift Wrapped Life
Photo 13 from NY Times