Number 5

“Mon Paris, right?” -an old french woman remarks, as I was telling my friend to smell my wrist to fully take in the scent that I sprayed on a few minutes ago.

I look at the woman just a few feet behind me, surprised by her immediate recognition of the scent.

“Yes, it is” I smiled.

“It’s a great fragrance”

“I fully agree”

The woman was around her mid-sixties, faint makeup on her lips and a dusty rose on her eyelids. She was holding on to the leather she had around her arm with the iconic Louis Vuitton monogram.

“But honestly Black Opium has much more distinctive tones”

“Yes it’s much more bonbon” I nodded in agreement.

“But my major preference is Chanel number 5.”

And Chanel number 5 fit her like a glove. It’s what she had decided to wear on her that day and that’s when I recognized the strongly familiar scent. She was elegant and knew her fragrances quite distinctively. Her collection of perfumes included Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel and Chloë, and she could tell between them, and knew which one fit the occasion; and on that day she had recognized a scent I had barely sprayed on my wrist, that had made its debut in France not so long ago, I believe it had been on the market for only a few months.

The woman was particular in the way she dressed, very chic and elegant; and I knew I wanted to write about her the minute the conversation ended.

As my friend and I walked around Grenoble on a Wednesday evening in January, I saw a few other women with some similarities. They were so elegant and tasteful. Some of them walked in clothing shops dressed in black skirts to their knees, blazers with embroidery and pretty little details. Women with polished nails and statement hats, wrapped in elegance and chic faux-fur scarves, pointed heels and red lipstick, the smell of Chanel number 5 following them wherever they went, and I was fortunate enough to talk to one of them that day.


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