Jan 26, 2022 | 11 min Read

16 Best French Perfume Brands (and Their Best Fragrances)

Let’s take a walk through some of the best French perfumes and their makers, Amour.

Impeccable French style doesn’t end when you step outside the wardrobe. Nope. When it comes to that quintessential je ne sais quoi, the missing piece in the puzzle comes in fragrance form. 

Plenty of the world’s most famous perfume brands come from France, and it’s easy to see why. Romantic cities like Paris and Marseille provide wonderful backdrops for the best French perfume brands to source inspiration for their magical blends. Perfumes made in Paris and the rest of France encapsulate that mysterious charm we all know and love, waiting to be bottled and taken across the world.

What is French Perfume?

French perfume is masterfully blended with elaborate floral, fresh, spicy, and sweet notes in a way that only the French can do. Many popular perfume brands hail from France, including Chanel, Guerlain, Yves Saint Laurent, and Dior. Some are delightfully subtle while some verge on the overpowering.

Once you’ve discovered the world of the best French perfumes, you won’t want to look back. These brands below produce some of the most exciting blends in the fragrance industry, offering unique bottles for all occasions. Not sure where to start? Read on for all of our favorite French women’s perfume brands.

1. Chanel

Chanel Paris Biarritz Perfume

Chanel is arguably the best French perfume brand on the market. It’s proof that art and style often go hand in hand, producing a range of timeless fragrances that rightfully deserve a spot on every woman’s dressing table. It’s hard to pinpoint the best Chanel fragrances, as every classic French scent comes with impressive blending and unique charm. 

But of course, Chanel No. 5 sits firmly at the top, with its floral, powdery finish and mysterious combination of aldehydes, ylang-ylang, neroli, and bergamot. Coco Mademoiselle is just behind  —  a citrus floral photograph captured best by its orange-heavy bouquet. 

For a full list of the greatest scents by Coco, explore the Best Chanel Perfumes of All Time guide.

Best fragrances: Chanel No. 5, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, Chanel Gabrielle

2. Chloe 

Chloe (new) Perfume

Chloe perfume is sensual and delicate. It’s a freshly manicured hand reaching out with gentle potential. Chloe perfume sits on the skin with its own everlasting power, promising a feeling of cleanliness and put-togetherness in a unique way. 

Chloe Nomade is one of the brand’s most popular offerings. It’s a perfume made in France in 2018 that effortlessly blurs the landscapes between wood and citrus. Mirabelle, bergamot, and lemon glisten on the skin. Chloe Love Story is one of the best French perfumes you can buy. It’s just as romantic as its name suggests, with neroli, pear, and bergamot softly coating its white floral accords.

Best fragrances: Chloe Chloe, Chloe Nomade, Chloe Love Story

3. Guerlain

Shalimar By Guerlain

Legendary Guerlain comes bursting at the seams with inspiration and beauty. It’s a light touch and an ever-famous French perfume brand. Guerlain constantly impresses — knowingly — with blends like Guerlain Shalimar. 

Rich, intoxicating, and heavy with a citrus-amber glow, this endlessly popular fragrance was created by Jacques Guerlain in 1925 as a tribute to a love story. Guerlain Mon Guerlain is sweeter and youthful, an admirable concoction with base notes of Tahitian vanilla, coumarin, and Australian sandalwood that seem to retain their subtle glaze for hours. 

Best fragrances: Guerlain Shalimar, Guerlain Samsara, Guerlain Mon Guerlain

4. Yves Saint Laurent

Mon Paris Perfume By Yves Saint Laurent

Yves Saint Laurent doesn’t mess around, whether that means sharp branding, contrasting aromas, or bewitching new fragrances promising to take the perfume world by storm. This French luxury brand runs full steam ahead whether rejuvenating the fashion industry or injecting a boost into the world of scent. 

Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium is sexy and mythical — a sweet, coffee-heavy perfume with a far stronger appeal than simple caffeine. Yves Saint Laurent Paris takes you on a journey through the streets of France’s most romantic city, with geranium, green notes, and nasturtium leading the way. One of the best French perfumes for romance and mystery.

Best fragrances: Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium perfume, Yves Saint Laurent Paris, Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche

5. Christian Dior 

Jadore Perfume By Christian Dior

One of the best French perfume brands on earth, Christian Dior is just as intoxicating as it is refreshing. It encourages your raised eyebrow while causing you to second guess your thoughts. Dior Jadore is sweet, harmonious, and full of character, pulling together unexpected fruity and salty notes in a way that really shouldn’t work, but absolutely does. 

Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet sits at the romantic end of the spectrum — a beautiful handful of pink peonies and Damask roses alongside a basket of apricot and peach. The result? A scent reminiscent of first dates.

Best fragrances: Dior Jadore, Dior Hypnotic Poison, Dior Miss Dior Blooming Bouquet

Miss Dior is one of the most popular fragrance lines on the market. Find out why in the Miss Dior Perfume Review.

6. Lancome

La Vie Est Belle by Lancôme By Lancome

The name of Lancome’s most popular fragrance, Lancome La Vie Est Belle, translates to “life is beautiful.” And that’s an attitude the brand embodies, designing stunningly blended perfumes that evoke a feeling of pleasure and contentment. Iris, jasmine, and orange blossom ensure this perfume’s position as a summertime favorite. 

Lancome Trésor is the brand’s oldest scent. It’s aged like a fine wine with a perpetually enthralled audience to match. Its peach, rose, and apricot blossom keep this floral oriental as another forever favorite. 

Best fragrances: Lancome La Vie Est Belle, Lancome Trésor, Lancome Miracle

7. Thierry Mugler 

Angel Perfume By Thierry Mugler

Fashion photographer Thierry Mugler promises a delight for all the senses, with a range of fragrances developed with bottles just as beautifully enticing as what’s inside. Producing perfume that brings out confidence and sex appeal with a single spritz, French perfume brand Thierry Mugler has 163 fragrances under its belt, with Alien usually coming out on top. 

Designed to reflect the feminine force, its jasmine sambac, cashmeran wood, and ambergris make it perfect for evening drinks. Thierry Mugler Mugler Aura is the underdog of the brand, with rhubarb leaf and bergamot providing a fruity, floral contrast. It’s among the best French perfumes for a fizzy brunch.

Explore the guide on the Best Thierry Mugler Perfumes of All Time for an extensive list of the best by Mugler.

Best fragrances: Thierry Mugler Alien, Thierry Mugler Angel, Thierry Mugler Mugler Aura

8. Cacharel

Anais Anais L'original Perfume By Cacharel

Romantic Cacharel is a soft, silken scarf waving in the wind with gentle, pastel-toned notes. A brand shaped around romance and everything that stems from it, Cacharel is a tender whisper in the fragrance world. 

Choose Cacharel Anais Anais L’original with its heavy and vibrant floral bouquet for an elegant, almost soothing addition to your perfume drawer. Cacharel Amor Amor is thrilling and adventurous — a first date filled with spontaneous drinks and a late night drive with pink grapefruit, mandarin, and blood orange holding hands sneakily.

Best fragrances: Cacharel Anais Anais L’original, Cacharel Amor Amor, Cacharel Lou Lou

9. Estee Lauder 

Pleasures Perfume By Estee Lauder

Estee Lauder produces an average of two new perfumes each year, starting with the ethereal Youth Dew back in 1953. Proving that quality and quantity can walk hand in hand, Estee Lauder is a French perfume brand that shines strong through the crowds, bestowing a timeless and seasonless glow on anyone who wears it. 

Estee Lauder Youth Dew’s name might not match its amber-heavy spicy mix, but its rich staying power ensures perpetual repurchases. Estee Lauder Beautiful was released in 1985 as a modern approach to fragrance. Blending classic florals with citrus notes creates a scent that lives up to its Beautiful name. One of the best French perfumes for a first date or a five-star restaurant.

Best fragrances: Estee Lauder Beautiful, Estee Lauder Pleasures, Estee Lauder Youth Dew

10. Annick Goutal

Annick Goutal Rose Pompon Perfume

Annick Goutal perfumes write individual fragrance novels, expertly coordinating notes that shouldn’t typically work but somehow do. Scripture in fragrance form, Annick Goutal Rose Pompon blends natural ingredients with a fresh, almost fizzy appeal with handfuls of sweet raspberry and Damask rose. 

Step into spring mode with Annick Goutal Le Mimosa — a scent filled with sunshine and an entire garden’s worth of fresh mimosa flowers. Regardless of which Annick Goutal fragrance you choose, you’ll appreciate it for its unique qualities.

Learn more about Annick Goutal and their signature scents in the Best Annick Goutal Perfumes of All Time guide.

Best fragrances: Annick Goutal Rose Pompon, Annick Goutal Le Mimosa, Annick Goutal Passion

11. Nina Ricci 

Nina Perfume By Nina Ricci

Nina Ricci may be a perfume made in Paris, but this international French perfume brand marries some of the best of European culture into each of its magical bottles. Beautiful crystal flacons and intriguing designs go hand in hand when it comes to Nina Ricci.

After the initial release of Coeur Joie in 1946, the French brand has gone on to produce exciting, mouthwatering, and storytelling fragrances. Nina Ricci Nina L’extase is a popular choice, framed with amber florals and plenty of pink pepper, peach, and pear. Ricci Ricci is a lesson in all things jammy, with a sugary sweet mix and a chypre glimmer. One of the best French perfumes for teens.

Best fragrances: Nina Ricci Nina, Nina Ricci Nina L’extase, Nina Ricci Ricci Ricci

12. Hermes

Twilly D'hermes Perfume By Hermes

Striking Hermes is authoritative and daring — a brand marching at the front with an everlasting orchestra of successful fragrances chanting in its path. A masterpiece in the world of modern perfumery, Hermes reigns supreme as a leader with popular bottles like Twilly D’hermes consistently taking charge. 

Its ginger and bitter orange notes make it perfect for fall occasions. Hermes Eau Des Merveilles is another orange-hued bottle, dominated by tart, spicy notes with a hint of sharp citrus peeking through. Among the best French perfumes for summer months. 

Best fragrances: Hermes Twilly D’hermes, Hermes Un Jardin Sur Le Nil, Hermes Eau Des Merveilles

13. Givenchy

Amarige Perfume By Givenchy

Irresistibly feminine, Givenchy is a French perfume brand memorable both for its wearer and anyone who crosses their path. Delicate, mysterious, and intriguing, it’s hard to pinpoint exactly what Givenchy smells like, more than simply saying “womanly.”

Designed a little like a gentle symphony, Givenchy fragrances are soft and welcoming while retaining their unique touches. Breathe in the scent of Givenchy Amarige to witness an orange blossom, peach, and mimosa appraisal. Givenchy Ysatis is the chorus breathing new life with ylang-ylang, galbanum, coconut, and rose wood dreamily fusing together.

Best fragrances: Givenchy Amarige, Givenchy Ysatis, Givenchy Organza

14. Caron

Lady Caron Perfume By Caron

An underdog of the French fragrance industry, Caron perfume is bewitchingly detailed. It’s a mecca in France for all Parisiennes with a taste for the best. A tale of classic luxury that spans more than a century, Caron perfume is revolutionary. Along with being a firm favorite in France, it’s endlessly popular across North America and Europe. 

The scent of Caron Infini in particular never gets old, with its gentle breeze of aldehydes, narcissus, and jasmine. Caron Fleur De Rocaille is ethereal and almost silent, opting to choose gentle florals like gardenia and lilac. It’s one of the best French perfumes for when you need to relax and unwind.

Best fragrances: Caron Infini, Caron Fleur De Rocaille, Caron Aimez Moi

15. Maison Margiela

Replica Whispers In The Library Perfume By Maison Margiela

Maison Margiela brings together the masculine and the feminine in such a way that its perfumes appeal to almost everyone. Opting for a “less is more” approach, the French perfume brand’s Replica range offers scents of occasions rather than just mere notes blended together. 

Maison Margiela Replica Whispers In The Library is comforting and cozy, a warming boost of pepper, vanilla, precious woods, and cedar. Replica Under The Lemon Trees is the polar opposite. It’s a sun-dazzling concoction of Mediterranean pleasure with citrus mixed with green notes of coriander.

Best fragrances: Maison Margiela Replica Whispers In The Library, Maison Margiela Replica By The Fireplace, Maison Margiela Replica Under The Lemon Trees

16. Diptyque

Diptyque Vetyverio Perfume

Best known for its stunning candles but underrated for its equally as delicious perfumes, Diptyque is a lesson in all things iconic. Each unique fragrance is concocted in small numbers, providing exclusivity in a way that ensures at least a little clamoring for more. 

Diptyque Vetyverio is effortlessly stylish, pairing grapefruit and Amalfi lemon with soft, enticing vanilla and a woody base. Diptyque Do Son is a sweet, powdery floral that you’ll want to reserve for special occasions. Its tuberose and jasmine mix is heavenly on spring mornings.

Best fragrances: Diptyque Vetyverio, Diptyque Philosykos, Diptyque Do Son

Best French Fragrance Brands – In Summary

If there’s one thing French perfume companies are known best for, it’s the intricate detailing that goes into each bottle. Have you developed a new taste for some of the best French perfume brands in the world? You’ll find a huge range of discounted French perfume for women at FragranceX.

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Georgie Darling, perfume writer and expert

Georgie Darling is a freelance lifestyle and travel writer from London, England. Her work has been published in Grazia, HuffPost, YAHOO!, Culture Trip and Fodor’s amongst others. When she’s not writing, Georgie spends most of her time travelling to new countries and scuba diving. She’s been an avid fragrance lover since a young age and considers Alaïa by Alaïa Paris to be her signature scent.

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