It was a cold and rainy night, my mom was visiting from Hong Kong, and I wanted to offer her (and me) a memorable mom-and-daughter moment of indulgence. I’d heard of ex-New Yorker Lauren Creecy’s new Free Persephone Fragrance Day Spa (named after the Greek goddess of Spring), and I thought this was the perfect moment to check it out.
From the moment we stepped in to be warmly greeted by the vibrant Lauren and her friendly team, a live apple tree, and a mélange of delicate fragrances wafting in the air, I was a convert. We felt like we’d been whisked into a cozy English cottage on a warm, spring day.
A family-style wooden table serves as the base for manicures, with a cozy, salon de thé serving fragrant teas and freshly baked goodies. And then there are the oversized armchairs, which serve as pedicure thrones. You’d never guess you were in the heart of Paris’ fashionable 6ème arrondissement.
Weary passersby on Boulevard Raspail often stop in to ask if they can spend a few moments in the floral-patterned, oh-so-comfy armchairs, which look like they come straight out of a Laura Ashley store. (And the answer is yes, they offer 10 and 15-minute, seated mini-massages if you need a little zen pause on the way home.)
As this is a fragrance spa, all the treatments – from manis and pedis to facial treatments and full body massages – are offered around fragrant themes: aromatic, citrus, or floral, depending on your mood.
My mom chose a lavender-scented, 65-minute Luxury Spa Pedicure, which includes nail filing, cuticle conditioning, buffing your heels to smooth perfection, and a divinely relaxing head, foot and leg massage. Before the treatment started, she got to choose one of their homemade, fragrant exfoliating scrubs. Then, Mom sunk herself into her floral throne, dipped her feet in a lovely warm bath of fragrant water, and drifted quietly off into a heavenly reverie.
As much as my rough feet needed a polishing, I was suffering from back pain, so the fabulous Fabienne graciously suggested that I lay down in their massage room for a Dream Garden treatment – who could refuse anything with a name like that? Concocted to sooth the tired eyes, face and neck of people who spend hours in front of computer screens (guilty!), it’s a blissful combination of eye reflexology and a scalp massage, using organic oils and aromatherapy – which is guaranteed to help gently sooth your tensions away.
Every once in a while, Fabienne would spritz a delightful fragrance around my head, and with each inhalation I felt even more relaxed. One hour later, I stepped out of the treatment room feeling completely revived and rejuvenated.
With 15 years of international expertise in fragrance development and olfactive experience marketing, Lauren definitely knows her scents. She created this spa partially as an ode to her passion for fragrance, partially as a mission to connect women from all walks of life.
This is not your typical Parisian spa where you walk in to be ushered off into your own private cabin and remain in seclusion (except when you’re getting a massage). It’s lovingly designed to be a unique and convivial space where you can connect and linger with friends over a cup of tea and a beauty treatment – even on Sundays.
In the boutique corner, you’ll find Lauren’s own line of four original Free Persephone fragrances, as well as a curated selection of fragrant hand creams, candles and organic beauty products.
With 150m2 of open space, it’s a great place to consider privatizing for your own event, whether it’s a bachelorette party, birthday, or just a girls’ night out for manis and pedis.
So, the next time you want to escape from the long, chilly months of the winter to a land of eternal Spring, think of Free Persephone – and bring a friend (or a few) to stay a while. You’ll walk away with a spring in your step and a lovely aroma lingering behind you.