Notre-Dame in Perfume Advertising: 4 Vintage Images

Édouard Baldus, Facade of Notre-Dame de Paris, between 1851 and 1870. Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division

Since France has been the center of Western perfumery for several centuries, and so many major fragrance houses have been based in Paris, it’s no surprise that Paris landmarks — including the cathedral of Notre-Dame de Paris — make cameo appearances in so many perfume advertisements.

Earlier today, Notre-Dame was engulfed in flames. The cause of the fire hasn’t been established yet. While we’re reflecting on this event, let’s take a break from the news footage of the conflagration and look back at a few images of Notre-Dame in fragrance ads…

Evening in Paris 1954 Raymond (Brenot).jpg

This focus of the above 1954 advertisement for Bourjois Soir de Paris (Evening in Paris) is the couple elegantly dressed in evening-wear (plus that perfume bottle!), but the location is established by the view of Notre-Dame across the Seine.

Lanvin Arpege 1985.png

That concept is still very persuasive in this 1985 ad for Lanvin Arpège. This photograph pulls back further to include a couple dancing on a Left Bank quai, the Seine itself, the Pont de l’Archevêché, and a spotlit Notre-Dame.


This illustrated ad for D’Orsay Intoxication reportedly dates to 1946 (although it looks more like to 1964, to my eye? ) and has a stylized, dreamlike appearance. An almost ghostly white sketch of the cathedral seems to float just behind the square. The couple may have just purchased their little bouquet from the flower-seller in the background.


Speaking of floral arrangements, in this illustration from 1945, an ad for Plassard Bouquet de Paris, Notre-Dame is clustered with other Paris landmarks—the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Basilica of  Sacré-Cœur in Montmartre—in a tricolore nosegay.

What else is there to say? Notre-Dame has been inspiring people for so many reasons since it was constructed eight centuries ago. Let’s hope that it can continue doing so.

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