Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Vive les Violettes!

I have always had a special place in my heart for that lowly little flower, the violet. Perhaps I trace it back to the unexpected gift from my college beau, Ritchie Alexander — a miniature bandbox full of candied violets from France.

Or maybe to that tiny tin of violet flavored pastilles — Flavignys de la Violette.

So I was pleased as punch the other day to come across an article about a town in France which is set on reviving the use of violets in the fragrance industry.

I remember a violet essential oil from my hippie period, so sweet and delicate, and several years ago, on a visit to New York, I made a special pilgrimage to Barney's just to purchase a bottle of Creed's hard-to-find Fleurissimo, a potion fit for a princess: in fact, it had been created for Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Rainier in the 1950s. It has a certain ladylike elegance and I live for that first whiff of violets when I wear it.

This was the same trip that I discovered violet flavored gum at a newstand in Grand Central!