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I learned only recently that Chanel N°5, still one of the world’s most popular fragrances,  turned 100 years on May 5th, 2021


Wow, talk about aging gracefully!


Do you remember the first time that you spritzed some Chanel N°5?


As a teen (probably casually dressed in an unattractive pair of madras shorts and a t-shirt) I snuck up to the perfume counter at one of our well-known department stores.


Patiently waiting for the salesgirl to be busy elsewhere with a real paying customer so that she did not notice me.


Chanel N°5 was my indoctrination into a growing obsession with Frenchness, and I was willing to risk getting caught to douse myself in some of its magic.


It was always worth it to walk away afterward knowing that I was leaving an invisible but probably overpowering trail of sophistication — despite my appearance.





I bet my grandmother bought one of the first bottles. I wished I had asked her!/A Century of Chanel  N°5


Coco Chanel launched the new scent in May 1921, hence the Number 5 for the fifth month of the year.


Most fragrances of that era were created from the note of a single flower or two, but Chanel wanted to compose a modern more textured perfume for women.


In her unique formula, she included may rose, tuberose, iris, rose geranium, and jasmine.


In fact, it takes about one thousand jasmine flowers, all handpicked, to make one bottle of Chanel N°5.



Chanel’s field of jasmine flowers near Grasse, France/A Century of Chanel  N°5


The perfume’s bottle was also meant to be avant-garde, departing from the more ornate bottles, hence the square shape, black-lacquered stamp and stark font and label.




Fifty-five giant red bottles made of crystal were created as collector items and sold for $30,000 each.


Perfume Counter in Paris


When I am in Paris, I always visit the Chanel perfume counter at Galleries Lafayette.


No need to sneak up there. The sales clerks are kept so busy with global tourists that I can leisurely explore undisturbed.


There you can see the astonishing array of Chanel perfumes, many of which you can only get in France, as well as the plethora of Chanel N°5 scent types to choose from; Eau de perfume, eau de toilette, Eau première, l’eau, and lord knows what else!


One 8th of the Chanel perfume counter at Galeries Lafayette/Photo courtesy of Alamy


Easy peasy to steal a spritz or two, except which one do I choose?

*NOTE: Special thanks to  Luci Rizzo for the featured photo of the perfume.  Luci won this bottle of perfume in one of my first Giveaway Draws.


French Perfume — Take My Quiz!

There is so much to know about perfume and it is fascinating.

Read about what I learned by taking a tour

of the Fragonard Perfume museum in Paris,

and then take my quiz.

CLICK HERE to Check out the Blog Post

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  1. Barbara j KASER on June 6, 2021 at 9:25 am

    Love your blog and looking forward to returning to Paris soon. I spent a year living on Ave Duquesne.

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 11:04 am

      Barbara, How very kind of you to leave a comment. I am thrilled that you are enjoying my blog. I must look up Avenue Duquesne! I am hoping to get back to France this fall. Need some new material!!!
      Best to you, Diana

  2. Kelly on June 6, 2021 at 9:33 am

    As a child, our family would make the annual big trip from south central Pennsylvania to Piscataway, NJ to visit my Aunt Grace and Uncle Johnny. Grace seemed more worldly than the rest of our family because she was very attractive and had moved “far” from the rolling hills and farm lands of home. She and Johnny would sometimes drive us into NYC for dinner which was always so exciting. She also worked at the Chanel Manufacturing Plant which seemed kind of exotic at the time. She always wore Chanel No 5 and introduced my Mom to it too. For a while she switched to Chanel No 22 and, of course, so did my Mom. Sadly, Grace passed away in her early 50s from cancer, but several years ago I woke up in the morning to the distinct scent of Chanel No 5. It was very strange but definitely brought back memories of my Aunt Grace.

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 3:41 pm

      What a lovely story. They know that scents like music conjures up all sorts of feelings and memories. This is a divine piece of your history. Kelly, thank you so much for the comment.

  3. Susan Hothersall on June 6, 2021 at 9:34 am

    My Chanel fragrance of choice is CHANCE! Don’t I smell lovely!

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 11:02 am

      Hi Susan, I love that one too.. as well as Grabrielle which is my current fav. But thinking of getting some no. 5 again and seeing how it suits me now. Great hearing from you and your name has been added to the 2nd Annual Members Giveaway Draw! Good luck, Diana

  4. Veronica Brownlee on June 6, 2021 at 9:42 am

    I am still wearing Chanel No. 5. I received my first bottle from my boyfriend in college in 1966. Still a beautiful fragrance. It reminds me of my life.

  5. Liz Gilbert on June 6, 2021 at 9:48 am

    I remember those trips “downtown” to the big stores to check out the fashion and to browse, sophisticated young women that we were. And if memory serves me, Chanel No. 5 suited you well. As for me, not so much. First lesson in sophistication – perfume can smell different on different people. ❤️

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 10:59 am

      I have such fond memories of those trips. I don’t remember that the perfume suited me more than you though.
      Your memory is amazing. Thanks for the comment. Your name has been added to the 2nd annual Giveaway Draw.
      Hope to see you soon! Diana

  6. Luci Rizzo on June 6, 2021 at 10:25 am

    Ahh Chanel….For me its been many years of adoration for this scent. It started and totally continues w No 5. Timeless, decadent and beautiful and this is how i feel when I wear it. I couldn’t have been more thrilled to win that first giveaway. Ty Diana!!

    Due to Covid and my lack of leaving the home i have more left in the bottle now than i would have expected but i plan this fall to change all that! 🙏.

    Over the years i have tried a couple of others such as No 19. No! Then Coco Mademoiselle and that is a big YES! But No 5 is still the ONE.

  7. Veronica Brownlee on June 6, 2021 at 10:28 am

    I have been wearing Chanel No. 5 since 1966 when my college boyfriend gave me a bottle. It continues to be a favorite fragrance. The classic design of the bottle is perfect.

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 11:00 am

      That boyfriend sounds like a keeper! Thank you so much for commenting. Your name has been added to the draw for the 2nd annual Membership Giveaway Draw! Thank you for being such a loyal reader of my blog. Diana

  8. Doris Squires on June 6, 2021 at 10:49 am

    Love Chanel and enjoyed your history of Chanel! Interesting story as is everything you write!

    • Penny Henson on June 6, 2021 at 11:34 am

      hi Diana. Love the Chanel fragrance Coco. ❤️

  9. Julia Fish on June 6, 2021 at 11:06 am

    I have a wonderful memory of this beautiful fragrance.
    I am the youngest of 4 daughters . At Christmas 1955 ( being 4 years of age ) my mother was sick and my father was in charge of what was under the tree.
    Yes , you guessed it ! We all received the same gift purchased at Saks Fifth Avenue. It was a large circular bottle of Chanel No. 5.I still have the empty bottle to this day.
    PS , my aunt came to the rescue that evening with age appropriate gifts in tow.
    Julia Fish

  10. Gretchen Greene O'Brien on June 6, 2021 at 11:11 am

    The pleasing scent of CHANEL #5 reminds me of my late birth mother – she always applied a spritz of this perfume daily!

  11. Margaret An. on June 6, 2021 at 11:30 am

    To think it has taken 73 years for me to know why one of my favourite scents was called number five! It is always an education Diana, merci!

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 10:56 am

      I go back and forth on the scent but I think I am ready to try it again. I do love its history.
      Thanks Margaret Ann…your name has been added to the draw for the 2nd annual Membership Giveaway draw!
      Good luck, Diana

  12. Margaret Ann Gendreau on June 6, 2021 at 11:33 am

    Merci Diana! I have worn Chanel No. 5 for years and finally learned why it’s No.5! Your blog is always an education!

  13. Nicki Albrecht on June 6, 2021 at 12:05 pm

    Amazing the icon of Channel No 5 ! Happy Birthday to a legend !

  14. Shardie Stevenson on June 6, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Diana, I remember our trip to Paris 3 years ago now! We couldn’t wait to get there to try Chanel and other French parfum delights. We spent about 1/2 hour at the Duty Free shop sampling Chanel etc! I know I bought a bottle !
    I was always fascinated by my mother’s Chanel which she kept on her dresser. Luckily it was not a spray so I could sneak a dab and not get caught!
    Happy Birthday Chanel 5 ❤️💐

  15. Priscilla Bond on June 6, 2021 at 2:17 pm

    Chanel no 5 my favourite xx

  16. Trudy Van Buskirk on June 6, 2021 at 3:26 pm

    I SOOOO look forward to your posts every Sunday … and to reading the comments of others! I’m taking an online Memoir Writing course led by a writer, actress and activist from Stratford Ontario. Her name is Alison Wearing – I’ll send her to your site – the memories are wonderful!!

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 10:54 am

      I got your comments Trudy. I am just travelling at the moment and have not been able to check my email or posts. How exciting that you are taking memoir course. I am working on my new memoir and hope to have it completed by the end of the year. Keep me posted about yours! Diana

  17. Trudy Van Buskirk on June 6, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    I guess my comment didn’t get processed – technology 🙂 I really look forward to opening my inbox every Sunday for your email – your writing and the comments of others are just what I need – a tiny view of wonderful things!!!

  18. Peg McPhedran on June 7, 2021 at 8:53 pm

    I had a trip to the south of France several years ago, and I still remember the fields of flowers — especially the lavender! — that would be harvested to make perfumes. Fragrant and beautiful!

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 10:52 am

      I still have not visited those Lavender fields! Definitely on my list of to dos — thanks for the comment Peg. You are entered into the draw for the 2nd annual Membership Giveaway. Diana

  19. Barb on June 8, 2021 at 7:18 am

    Hi Diana, I remember as a little girl walking by the perfume counter and smelling Channel N#5. It has a timeless fragrance that is still enjoyed by many women today.

  20. Barb on June 8, 2021 at 8:31 am

    I remember as a young girl walking by the perfume counter and smelling Channel N*5. It is a scent enjoyed by many women still today.

    • Diana Bishop on June 8, 2021 at 10:50 am

      Amazing to think it has lasted all this time… especially as I remember it first as an old lady scent…and now i qualify!! Love getting your comment Barb, Diana

  21. Nancy Griffin on June 8, 2021 at 11:35 am

    I adore Chanel N 5!! So very classy in every way possible!

    • Diana Bishop on June 10, 2021 at 9:05 am

      We seem to be all in agreement. No wonder it is such a popular fragrance. Thank you for the comment Nancy. You are now entered to WIN in the 2nd annual members Giveaway draw!
      Bonne chance! Diana

  22. Katsy Entifi on June 8, 2021 at 1:03 pm

    I gifted my mom a Chanel N*5 when I visited my parents before the pandemic. Still the best perfume ever!

    • Diana Bishop on June 10, 2021 at 9:04 am

      What a lovely idea. Love hearing from you Katsy! Your comment here enters you in the annual members Giveaway Draw! Good luck! Diana

  23. Susan Patterson on June 8, 2021 at 7:15 pm

    I had a lovely visit to the Chanel shop on Avenue Montaigne with a girlfriend in December 2019. Wow, were we glad a few months later we had taken that trip! The store is filled with beautiful items and of course the most beautiful of all – to me – were the scents. No. 5 is still my favourite!

    • Diana Bishop on June 10, 2021 at 9:03 am

      Not sure if you ever saw my blog Susan on my trip to the Chanel store in Paris (Look for Red Lipstick is So French! — where Coco herself once lived. It was so pretentious I could barely stand it. I bought a red lipstick for 60 dollars and it was quite the production… it felt more like a museum than a store but it was an adventure.

      Thank you for the comment. You are in the running for the next Guveawa for annual members. Good luck, Diana

  24. Lea Vares Greenwood on June 8, 2021 at 7:19 pm

    Chanel 22 was my favourite.

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