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Perfumer Valentine Pozzo di Borgo invites us to her French country escape.

The Property Addict / Distinct Dwellings

Oct 04 2016

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EDITORIAL: Maggie Kelly PHOTOGRAPHY: Fà ©licie Chardon   There is something wonderfully earthy about Parisian perfumer Valentine Pozzo di Borgo. The day we travelled to her small village of Fleury en Bià ¨re to shoot the sprawling country manor she calls home, Valentine met us in boots, black jeans, and a t-shirt; her youthful face make-up free and grinning. Surprising, to say the least, for the well-known beauty who's been known to grace the pages of Vogue and Vanity Fair. But for a woman who makes a living out of making beautiful scents, it is the fresh country air that smells the sweetest - this rich French countryside is home. (No heels required.) Fleury en Bià ¨re is a 16th century commune, just over an hour outside of Paris. Sitting a stone's throw from Fontainebleau and Barbizon, Fleury en Bià ¨re is everything you would expect from a quaint French village: lush green lawns, sun-bleached stone buildings, and thick rambling forests. For Valentine, it is a welcome escape from busy Paris, where she heads Quintessence, her signature perfumery.   V1_edits Creativity springs eternal in the region. Fontainebleau and Barbizon are both cities famous for their artistic history, with the castles of Fontainebleau and Barbizon attracting artists such as Millet, Daubigny, Rousseau, and Corot. "This city is at the origin of the artistic movement called "Ë?the school of Barbizon'," says Valentine. "For me, this is an ideal spot to escape from the city life and to be creative." And Valentine's creativity is to be envied: at just 32, she has leapt from the shadow of her famous family's perfume business to establish her own, truly unique brand and concept. In 2008, she launched Quintessence, a divine range of luxury candles. V2_Edits   Valentine is from a long history of perfumers, with both her great-great grandfather, Xavier Givaudan and grandfather, Là ©on, creating some of the world's most famous scents such as "Ë?Shocking' by Elsa Schiaparelli, and Yves Saint Laurent "Ë?Opium'. In recent years, Valentine proved her olfactory talent with a new range of perfumes for the family brand, Pozzo di Borgo Paris. Inspired by her famous family, each scent bears their birth date and a scented homage to their varied personalities. "Ë?8 Mars 1764', for example, is inspired by her great-great-grand-uncle, Carl Andrea Pozzo di Borgo, a Corsican diplomat who was childhood friends with Napoleon Bonaparte. According to Vanity Fair, "the rich, masculine blend, designed by master perfumer Philippe Bousseton, evokes a "drop of Cognac poured into a burning coffee" with fresh, spiced citrus notes and warm undertones of Russian leather. Think: sexy and intelligent."

Å?¨ Aujourd'hui venez dà ©guster les macarons crà ©à ©s par @lesartizans dans notre boutique de la rue du Bac à  l'occasion du Bac Sucrà © ! Å?¨ #macaron #prune #pruneau #plum #paris #ruedubac #bacsucre #yummi #sweet #foodstagram #foodaddict #patisserie #delicious #original #sugar #sucre #lesartizans

A photo posted by Quintessence Paris (@quintessenceparis) on

But it is Valentine's 'interior-parfums' that are her calling card. Scent, after all, is such a important factor when it comes to making home feel like, well, home. "You spend most of your time in your home," explains Valentine. "When you request the help of an architect, he gives a frame to your house, a structure. Then you invest in the house and make it personal, a reflection of yourself. Many things are available in order to do so, objects, paintings, photos ... but then you enter something more emotional with music and interior perfumes and candles."   V4_edits In addition to smelling absolutely divine - what is that? Magnolia? - Valentine's sprawling country manor is packed with personal curios that seem to vibrate with personal history. Outside, a vine creeps among a wall of equestrian awards; inside, the rooms are crowded with artworks, portraits of Valentine, books, statues, plush couches, family photographs, exotic knick-knacks...it is inviting and interesting, and - like Valentine - earthy and warm, too. V8_edits Glancing around, horse riding is a major theme of the home. A champion equestrian, Valentine regularly competes in horse riding events, and tries to ride at least once a day before work. She laughs when we ask if her passion has worked its way into her home decor. "Look at the wall, there are animals everywhere!" she says, laughing. "That is the first thing. Secondly, like any respecting horse back rider, I accumulate trophies, prizes, souvenir, photos ... I try to keep everything in this house. I don't having any more storage room but I always figure something out!" v10_edits V6_edits For Valentine, her love for horse riding was what inspired her shift into the country to begin with. "I love escaping from Paris to go horse back riding ...the forest is a good place to breathe," she says. "I am Parisian during the day because that is where my business is, but I sleep in this home two or three times a week. This allows me to go for morning horse back rides in the forest before heading to work." Relaxation is the order of the day in Fleury en Bià ¨re, with Valentine naming the kitchen and the bathroom as her 'happy places'. "Without hesitation there are two important places in the house for me," says Valentine. "A kitchen, because that is where all the souvenirs you create start. A house is made to live in but also to host." "And the bathroom - I cannot imagine a bathroom without a bathtub! At the end of the day, there is nothing better that taking an endless bath to relax and think about nothing." V7_edits   Oh, and what a bath is it. Marble topped and perched next to a curtained window overlooking the sumptuoys garden, it is surrounded with gold-framed portraits and a velvet-seated, Louis XV style chair. So very...French. The home has been in the Pozzo di Borgo family for over a decade. "We rent it from the family that owns Fleury en Bià ¨re's castle," explains Valentine. "The construction dates from the 16th century, with Cà ´me Clausse lord Marchaumont (Secretary Of Finance under Henri II). Then, Mr Nicolas Clausse entertained Richelieu here when the kings court resided in Fontainebleau. This place is loaded with history."  
Esxence here we are !#principedisavoia #show #comeandvisitus #milano #design #perfume #parfum #scentedcandle #newproduct A photo posted by Quintessence Paris (@quintessenceparis) on
But despite its rich history, for Valentine, it is, quite simply, home. Tucked onto the border of the thick forest that surrounds the manor, it is a quiet and peaceful sanctuary for this talented perfumer. A place to sink into a warm bath, and ponder the next delicious scent for her Quintessence collection. So what IS the favourite smell for one of France's rising stars in the perfume world? "You cannot choose one smell - it is impossible!" says Valentine with a smile. "There are the smells you like, the ones you discover, the ones that reminds you great moments of your life, memories. It is a tricky question." One that we have no doubt she has a lot of fun trying to answer.        

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