Once Popular 'Evening in Paris' Still Evokes Nostalgia

Evelyn Hammaren recently e-mailed the Monitor to ask: "Whatever happened to the perfume 'Evening in Paris'?"

Well-known in the 1940s, "Even-ing in Paris" was once a fixture on the purfume counters of American drug stores. Selling for about $3, the fragrance came in trademark cobalt blue bottles. Then one day it vanished.

Sleuthing by Monitor reporters, however, found that "Evening" is still produced in Paris by Bourjois. Today it sells under its French name, "Soir de Paris." The price: about $45 a bottle.

The fragrance is no longer widely available in the United States. However, at least one distributor, Anitra Earle - known as "The Perfume Detective" - still can get supplies.

Ms. Earle reports that "Evening" is by far the most requested of all the discontinued perfumes. She says it is a popular request items by older Americans on important occasions, particularly wedding anniversaries.

Such nostalgia helps "Evening" sell 250,000 bottles a year worldwide - a lot, but not like the '40s.

Annette Green, president of the New York-based Fragrance Foundation, says "Evening" became dated. Once it evoked images of wartime GIs returning from Paris. Today much of that mystery and allure of Paris has faded.

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