I love the alluring fragrance and the romantic ambience given out by the soft glow of candlelight. Over the years I have bought many different brands of “luxury” candles from Jo Malone, Neom, Voluspa, Tom Dixon to Dyptique and so on but more recently I have become besotted with “Trudon”. I feel like Cire Trudon is my forever candle brand. The history of Maison Trudon in Paris is a rich one, beginning in 1643 over a century prior to the French Revolution. Claude Trudon opened a small shop on Rue Saint Honore in Paris as a grocer and candler. His candles would make him a fortune and were used mainly in churches and during the reign of Louis XIVth and XVth both monarchs and the church were seduced by the pure white candles. It is likely that most “Old Master” paintings of the time that depict a subject by candlelight that the candle in question would have been supplied by Trudon. This is something I find intriguing, that they would have been burnt by significant characters and at important moments in history is mindblowing. Indeed the manufacturer supplied the palace of Versailles before, during and after the French Revolution. When Napoleon the 1st was crowned in 1811 the manufacture supplied the Imperial Court. Famously the Emperor gave his son only one present the day he was born; a Trudon pillar candle with three gold coins depicting Napoleon’s profile.
In more recent times the candlemaker took the name “Cire Trudon” and specialised in fragranced candles, but what a history!! The first Trudon store opened in the early twentieth century in my favourite neighbourhood of Paris; Saint Germain des Pres near Saint Sulpice church.
Each glass container is hand-crafted in Tuscany and is inspired by the shape of champagne buckets. The emblem on each candle proudly states “Deo Regique Laborant” (the bees work for God and the King).
The fragrances are heady and distinct. With variants such as Myrhh and Liquorice, Old Mossy Walls, Woody Cognac and Leather and Tobacco there are no soft floral notes of femininity to be found. These are serious, strong smells that transport you to another time and place, the sense of smell is such a sensory tool for the imagination.
My personal favourite? I adore Mademoiselle de la Valliere, which offers a a giant handful of freshly picked Tuberoses. The story behind the scent is that Françoise Louise de la Vallière was secretly in love with King Louis XIV, who made her one of his favourites. She bore him four children in the utmost secrecy. She crowded her bed with tuberoses to quell the queen’s suspicions “…by inhaling these scents that were so dangerous to her condition, she thought she was risking her life, but she hoped to save her honour”… (excerpted from “La Duchesse de Lavallière” by Stéphanie Félicité de Genlis). Abandoned for Athénaïs de Montespan who took her place in the king’s heart, she retired to Carmel and became “Sister Louise of Mercy”. Close your eyes, breathe in deeply – it’s divine.