As an enthusiastic 23-year-old, Jean Francois Houbigant founded the House of Houbigant in 1775. Before long, its fragrances first sold from this humble shop in Paris found their way to the fine noses of the French aristocracy. Along its unique history, Houbigant fragrances found home in the most interesting (and royal) of places: Marie Antoinette’s corsage when taken to the guillotine, the Queen of France when needing some good cheer; Napoleon’s campaign chest when he was stretching his conquering hand over Europe; and the Russian Empress Maria Fyodorovna’s Christmas shopping list.
Houbigant’s story is tightly interconnected with the very history of Europe. From kings and queens to ambassadors and even clergymen, all had time to put on a splash of Houbigant fragrance. Nor did these scents leave indifferent the nose of the literary world, with Tolstoy and Guy de Maupassant among Houbigant’s enthusiasts.
From the little Parisian shop with a flower sign on top to its fame as a royal perfumer, Houbigant built itself as a fragrance powerhouse. The House of Houbigant also placed itself at the forefront of innovation. In 1882, it launched Fougre Royale, introducing the world to fern-like scents, appealing to masculine tastes to this day. In 1912, Quelques Fleurs was born, the world’s first multi-floral bouquet. In 1941, it launched Chantilly, still a beloved classic. As of 2014, Houbigant continues its journey as the only fragrance house to have spanned four centuries.
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