“Whoever said Paris is for lovers is a liar!” Barbara thought as she stomped into the Place des Vosges. She dodged a smartly dressed woman who was walking her impeccably groomed poodle. Blindly, blurrily she stepped into the crosswalk only to stumble into the little park in the center of the Marais. This particular tourist was completely unaware that the beautiful woman with the tiny dog was really an elegant man in drag or for that matter she was unimpressed by the particularly Parisian beauty of the setting that surrounded her. She had been crying for the last three blocks. Nino was gone. Back to Rome and his wife, the wife he had just admitted to having only thirty minutes ago when he got into the cab for the airport. It was a sudden and brutal goodbye that left her reeling between anger and astonished shock. Now, this very afternoon, here she was in the Palace des Vosges with her vacation ruined by romance in the city of love. She had three days left in Paris before she would have to board United flight 991 back to San Francisco.
Suddenly surrounded by greenery and flowers her pace drained to a crawl. Meandering in her morose maroon mood she paid no attention to the handsome old men playing checkers under the Horse-Chestnut trees. She would have taken a photograph of the scene an hour ago. But now her camera filled with photos of Nino was burred under tearstained Kleenex at the bottom her Dior tote bag. The bag he helped her pick out the day she met him in the Place Vendome, seven and a half days ago when the whole affair began. Well that camera would stay buried there forever for all she cared. She felt the warning sting of fresh hot tears welling up. She looked up and in front of her was a huge statue of Louis XIII on his horse looking impressive in his wig. (Not as impressive as the drag queen with the poodle but a close second.) There was a place to sit, or in her case collapse on a green double sided bench. She crumbled on the spot and gave over to fresh sobs.
People passed her by, as did the shadows of the overhanging branches tracing the sun’s passage west over Paris. She saw none of it. Only the widescreen memories of her last week with Nino ran over and over on the loop in her brain. That wonderful first night at Maxim’s where she tasted her first Amber Moon with a grapefruit twist. The boat ride on the Seine in the rain that made them laugh, the Eiffel tower and the May roses in the gardens beyond it. Perfumes sniffed at Guerlain, Chanel, and Dior, endless wandering hand in hand heart in throat though the Rive Gauche. Only yesterday the little spice shop where she had smelled fresh peeper for the first time, the tour of Versailles where he kissed her in the hall of mirrors and snatched her heart away from her under the chandeliers like an Italian highwayman. Had it been real or a romance made from slight of hand and pretty lies? Now that she understood it. What it was, that she had been Nino’s Parisian fling it seemed tawdry and dirty. At forty eight that was not who she wanted to be, that middle-aged woman who goes to Paris for one last chance at romance. Nothing in her future but footsteps on the ceiling. She studied her scuffed Chanel shoes and tried to pull something of herself together. The sun was now at three o’clock and she didn’t want to move.
“Bonjour Madame!” She looked up into the cerulean eyes of an eight year old boy. He was dressed in his school uniform and held out his manicured hand to be shaken. Despite it all she shook his hand in bewilderment. A second boy stepped up and a third, “Bonjour Madame” from each boy as he passed. The thirteenth boy, the last handed her a rosebud. He didn’t shake her hand but kissed her wet cheek. He smelled of citrus, pepper and the rose. His teacher behind him nodded as she passed. It was a smile of recognition and kindness.
Barbara smiled back at the woman and wiped away the last tears of her broken heart. Her smile deepened and she looked around her and saw where she was. She knew now that Paris was filled with love, love of every kind.
Ambre Nuit from La Collection Privée by Christian Dior is blended with memories of love and its loss. It is a sweet remembrance of things that may never have been real but were none the less as tangible as a kiss in the rain, a look from a passing stranger who has the answer to unanswered prayers. It is a dream wrapped in smoky images and misty forms that make one never want to awaken to the dawn.
This is Dior’s Amber star. It is from beginning to end a lush romantic embrace of the most lustrous amber of the very best quality. Rich and full bodied like a great golden cognac. Even more so it is musical and holds this note as a beautiful deep tone from a great old cello played by a master. It is not the whole orchestra booming majestically but a beautiful solo in Amber.
There is in the opening spray a sparkle of bergamot and a twist of grapefruit that shimmers like champagne for a few minutes. Pink pepper is the pop of the champagne cork. The Amber is the goblet these citrus and pepper are pored into. As they settle down but never quite abandon the mix a gorgeous Turkish rose is added to the perfume. Like petals tossed in lazy abandoned onto a midnight pool this rose swirls in the center of the perfume to give it an oriental resonance of such splendor the senses are left reeling.
It opens boldly but never goes wild; it has restraint and an elegant dignity that never flags. It is beautiful on a man of great personal charisma and just as beautiful on a woman of magisterial mystery. As with all the perfumes in La Collection Privée, Ambre Nuit is outstanding in its unique signature. Nothing else smells like it in the line. It lasts for a good eight to ten hours on my skin. The projection is very good and never fails to get a complement or two.
Ambre Nuit is a sensuous silken experience that most certainly is for those with an understanding of and a desire for something rich but not overpowering. Of old world elegance and sophistication, it is a supper at ten and a ball that begins at midnight and ends in a barefoot walk along the Seine at sunrise.
AMBRE NUIT FIVE GOLD STARS *****
CREDITS FOR FOOTSTEPS ON THE CEILING BY LANE TIBBS
MUSIC BY VICTOR YOUNG