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Inside the Louis Vuitton Great Perfume Escape to the South of France

Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton South of France villa in Grasse “Fontaines Parfumées.” Courtesy Louis Vuitton

Frequent social media users will have experienced something of a FOMO moment as of late upon witnessing the trip of a lifetime when a few dozen Europe-based mega influencers and a handful of journalists flew to the South of France. Never had a commercial flight witnessed so many young men and women dressed in head-to-toe Louis Vuitton, with monogrammed duffle bags slung over shoulders with nonchalant je ne sais quoi. The short flight from Paris touched down in Nice where the guests next headed to Cannes, jubilant to once again be “on the road.” Clutching sunglasses and cell phones, they arrived in blacked-out vans at the Hotel Barrière le Majestic, famed for its central Croisette location and notably a main hotel for A-list actors during the Cannes Film Festival. A quick outfit change—from one Louis Vuitton total look to another—and guests were ushered across the street where motor dinghies whisked them across choppy waters to L’Ile Saint-Marguerite for an al fresco lunch, seaside, at La Guérite.

Louis Vuitton Heures d'Absence

Louis Vuitton guests arrive at L’Ile Saint Marguerite for an al fresco lunch. Courtesy Louis Vuitton

The reason for all this mid-week joie de vivre, that extended the summer haze in an almost deserted South of France sunshine spot was in celebration of two new Louis Vuitton perfumes. Heures d’Absence is the latest female perfume by in-house nose, master perfumer Jacques Cavallier Belletrud and offers a contemporary aroma of jasmine, rose de Mai, and mimosa, all accented with a hint of sandalwood and musk. The scent, tinted a luxurious lavender color and encapsulated in a refillable bottle (preferably engraved with your initials) is in fact named after the maison’s very first perfume created over ninety years ago.

Featuring the Louis Vuitton new women’s fragrance Heures d’Absence.

The meaning behind Heures d’Absence is the invitation to fully enjoy the moment and let time stand still as your senses soak in sunlight and happiness. After lunch, the guests trotted back to the hotel for due rest. Moroccan influencer Oumayma Boumeshouli took an Heures d’Absence time out, closing her eyes in a bath of milk, Louis Vuitton clothes, perfume, et al. Next, another outfit change and yet another al fresco meal, this time in the heart of Cannes at the Fred L’Ecallier restaurant where, after a game of pétanque, guests enjoyed dish after dish of fresh fish and vegetables while the air danced with the smell of fresh flowers and the pizzicato of laughter and camaraderie.

Louis Vuitton guests master the art of pétanque before an al fresco dinner in Cannes. Courtesy Louis Vuitton

The following day, the heroes of this South of France story returned to their blacked-out vans to climb the vertiginous hills to Grasse. The village, renowned for its fields of flowers that serve the finest perfumes is also home to Les Fontaines Parfumées, Louis Vuitton’s salmon-pink villa overlooking an exclusive field of jasmine. Here the maison‘s perfumes are regally displayed, atop fireplaces and within custom-made Louis Vuitton trunks larger than people. It was here that Cavallier gathered the curious guests for a new reveal, a man’s fragrance called Météore. Energized with spicy Sicilian mandarin, the fragrance evokes bold energy, and a Java vetiver, with elegant nods to earth and amber. The Louis Vuitton’s guests took turns posing with the new perfume, but none captured its essence as brilliantly as Dubai-based photographer LA.

Featuring the Louis Vuitton new men’s fragrance Météore.

The two-day affair ended with an impromptu choreography led by Salif Gueye. Perhaps in a pre-pandemic era some might have gawked at the blatant irreverence and out-and-out fun had by all on that South of France hilltop; now, it is with hope that one clings to a promise of happiness, for the heures d’absence are increasingly fleeting. As youth skipped, Cavallier smiled approvingly, and chefs milled about, watching the scenes of the last days of summer, the words of William Wordsworth came to mind: Though nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the flower—surely now there is a perfume that can and will.

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