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Fargeon, queen Marie-Antoinette's perfumer

Marie-Antoinette (by Vigée-Lebrun) | Yann Caradec / CC-BY-SA
Museum Marie-Antoinette Grasse International perfumery museum

My kingdom for a perfume!

Every royal perfumers shopped their flowers in Grasse…

In the reign of Louis XIII, it was the fashion of gloves perfumed with frangipane, coming from Italy.

In the reign of Louis XIV, people didn’t take bath, so they over used perfumes (amber and musk especially): yuck, it stinks, under the wigs!

For Louis XV, it was the famous Cour parfumée (″Perfumed Court″), with the birth of the eau de Cologne.

What about Louis XVI? Courtiers preferred light perfumes made of rose and violet… but who made their perfumes? Wait for him, he’s coming…

Let me introduce Jean-Louis Fargeon!

Jasmine and violet for Marie-Antoinette

Fargeon was very young when he left his city of Montpellier, to go in Paris.

He opened his shop rue du Roule, next to the rue de Rivoli. The name? Au Cygne des Parfums (″Perfumes’ Swan″)…

Hey, Fargeon was born in a family who made perfumes since centuries: they had their own shop, called Oriza, in Paris.

Among Fargeon’s creations for Louis XVI’s court, we have the orange water.

But Marie-Antoinette had her own fragrance, of course! Hey, it was made with rose, violet, jasmine and a touch of musk. Just a touch!

Fargeon also made for her creams and soaps perfumed with rose...

Recipes: virginal milk and parsley water

Fargeon published a book, L’art du parfumeur (″The perfumer’s art″).

He wrote recipes like the eaux simples made of 4 spices and lemon, or the parsley water.

And of course, cosmetics: ″preparation to embellish the complexion, giving a natural radiance to the face″, like the ″virginal milk″.

Do you want the recipe?

″Spray 3 ounces of silver litharge. Mix one ounce of white vinegar. Add an ounce of crushed salt, dissolved in rain water. Sift through a linen. Keep the liquor in a vase and toss it sometimes. This liquor will become as white as milk. You can use it morning and evening to embellish the skin, destroy stains on the face or remove rednesses and pustules on the forehead and cheeks.″

Come on, ladies, Fargeon had all the creams you needed!

His miracle cream ″to remove wrinkles", made of barley water… balms for ″slit lips″ and smallpox’s stains… ″liquors to perfume the mouth″…

And don’t miss the fabrication of perfumed gloves: Marie-Antoinette was fond of them!

About the the author

I'm fond of strolls and History, with juicy and spicy details!