Annick Goutal fragrances were all the rage when I started working in the hotel industry, blah blah years ago. They were happily everywhere in fact especially in France for this perfume house is “La Belle France” personified. Then they seemed to fade a little from my view to be replaced by globalisation and its ubiquitous amenities.
So imagine my delight to be re-acquainted with an Annick Goutal fragrance on a recent trip to Southern France – the Vaucluse in fact. We arrived at the Grand Hôtel Henri late one evening to be greeting by a smiling receptionist and an historic hotel styled à la française. The warmth of that kind of welcome generally means a great stay will follow – and so it proved.
It was when I was doing a customary tour of my accommodation that I spotted in the bathroom, three little bottles of style and substance – and peering closely, I saw that they belonged to Annick Goutal. My heart did a little flip to be back in touch again with a fragrant memory.
Pianist, model then perfumer, Annick Goutal opened her first shop in 1981 in the Rue de Bellechasse, Paris and the company is now run by her daughter Camille and long term collaborator, Isabelle Doyen.
Their philosophy is to use the rarest and noblest essences which are almost all of natural origin, such as Sicilian lemon, Damascus rose, Italian iris and tuberose from Grasse. Raw materials are chosen with the greatest care and extreme precision, to achieve, note after note, the perfect harmony which is their trademark. French craftsmen create the packaging for that authentic touch, a retro-chic style because “luxury is in the details” – a sentiment I completely agree with.
So if you are heading to the antiques & retro capital of France, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, I do recommend staying at the Grand Hôtel Henri and using those delicious Annick Goutal toiletries for a totally French experience.
Photographer & contributor: Sue Lowry