city sights, food & drink

eau de Paris

{ walking down towards the Eiffel tower }

Paris, the city of aromas.

It has a special blend, an eau de parfum, with an underlying base-note of stale urine, the sharp tangy odor of bodily excretions sprayed unconcientiously at every street corner. Top notes of cigarette smoke hit your senses every few minutes— and that only if you’re lucky. I think this is the one city where you can get lung cancer just by second-hand smoking. To round off layers of notes of the perfume of Paris is, of course, musk— also known by its technical term: “B.O.”

It’s lovely to sit outside a café and enjoy the sun like the rest of the Parisians, all of them who apparently do not need to go to work, because they’re out smoking and drinking from morning to night. If you are averse to getting lung cancer from second-hand smoking and if the smells of who-knows-how-long-ago spilt urine disturb your gustatory experiences, avoid sitting outside at all costs.

I am not complaining about my trip to Paris. It is a beautiful city. I just think that the olfactory factor has been ignored in most travel brochures and people’s accounts of this City of Lights.

{Recommended: Perfume: A Story of A Murderer, Patrick Süskind}

{ The Winged Victory of Samothrace, Louvre }

{ Basilique du Sacre-Cœur, Montmartre }

Who knew that the smell of piss would mix unpleasantly with the flavours of roasted duck?
Not to say that Paris is not beautiful. It is. There are thousands of photos, movies, songs, and poems that laud its unparalleled vibrancy. But, to one whose sense of smell is much more acute than one’s vision, Paris smells.

{ Looking up at La Madeline, a huge church opposite La Concorde }

{ at The Louvre }

{ Sainte Chapelle’s beautiful thirteenth-century stained-glass windows }

{ outside Notre-Dame Cathedral }

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