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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.

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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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