Buly 1803

The old-world interiors of Buly 1803.

As I mentioned in this post, Paris for me has always been a city of discovery. In my opinion, there is nothing more thrilling than spending an afternoon walking the streets and stumbling upon treasure. Buly 1803 is one such treasure trove, a perfumery from the late 18th century that is right out of a history book. Inside, tiled floors bear the business’s name and carved wooden shelves are lined with glass alchemy jars, potions, precious soaps, Japanese cleansing brushes, and exotic oils. Buly is the name of an 18th century perfumer who made a name for himself from his scented vinegars and discerning fragrances. Today, his legacy lives on in the tiny shop of the same name off Rue Bonaparte in Paris’s St. Germain neighborhood.

My loot from Buly 1803.

The Buly staff is very warm and welcoming (I especially loved that they all wore sophisticated navy lab coats!) Each member works privately with walk-in clients to find the perfect concoction for their beauty needs. The shop is known for inventing the first water-based perfume for the skin, meaning their scents are devoid of alcohol, ethanol, and other aggressive solvents. Because I don’t have the greatest sense of smell and therefore don’t wear perfume daily, I traded this product for their medicinal oils, which were equally alluring to me. I am quite excited about my new body oil, which is fragranced with Mexican tuberose, vanilla beans, and clove flowers. It is a divine lightweight oil to be used right after a bath and it’s especially beneficial for fragile, sensitive skin. (For 38 euros I was sold!) The packaging is something in itself and the most splendid surprise is that they will calligraphy your name on the box for an added personal touch.

The calligraphy station at Buly is something to marvel. Your epistles are quill-inscribed with kind words, monograms, or seasonal greetings.

Their soaps are another beautiful option, and best yet, the Buly team will carve your initials (or those of the recipient) into the back of the soap slab. I also came home with a few small viles of experimental oils. Safflower seed oil is rich with linoleum acid, vitamin K and E, and is reputed to minimize the irritation of rosacea and redness. I also picked up a small bottle of Baobab Seed oil. Baobab trees are a mythical tree from the desert plains of Africa. When its seeds are pressed, they produce a sweet oil that softens the skin and is purported to work wonders on stretch marks caused from pregnant bellies. (I’m storing this one for the special day that I am a mama-to-be!) Even more interesting to me is that the baobab only produces one liter of oil per year, making them an extra special keepsake for my beauty cabinet. Not mentioned are a a few other purchases, but long story short, I highly recommend a stop here on your next trip to Paris. If Paris isn’t in your future for a while, you can bring the Buly magic home by ordering online. I hope you like it as much as I did!

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