Buly 1803 is located at the end of rue Bonaparte in a store that you might pass if you weren’t looking for it or if you weren’t keeping your eyes peeled. It is located in an old pharmacy and the owners were smart enough to keep most of the interior intact with dark cabinets and shelves and all sorts of nooks and crannies to explore and a lovely tiled floor that fits right in (above).
I love it when I find a shop that is totally new to me and which is full of ambiance right out of the 1800’s and, not only that, stocked with lotions and fragrances that I instantly realise I can’t live without.
There is an interesting story behind Buly 1803 as you might expect when you enter. The original boutique opened in 1803 on Rue Saint-Honoré by Jean-Vincent Bully (notice the double “l”) who was known for his signature perfumes and scented vinegars. At the turn of the 19th century, perfumers were still the heirs of the master-craftsmen from the Ancien Régime. Well-known for his skills as a distiller, perfumer and cosmetician, in 1837 Jean-Vincent Bully was Honoré de Balzac’s inspiration for César Birotteau, for one of his novels from the Scènes de la vie Parisienne cycle in La Comédie humaine.
Two hundred years later Victoire and Ramdane Touhami reopened the store on the quaint Rue Bonaparte in St Germain de Près., leaving out one letter “l” of the name Bully and adding the year it first started. They kept the vinegar and perfume making principles, using only natural ingredients.
You’ll find soaps, candles, luxury hair brushes and even scented matches. For a fabulous moisturizer try Buly’s famous Pomade Virginale which is a skin softening cream with linden water and sweet almond oil.
The packaging is outrageously beautiful with watercolour paintings and hand drawn illustrations, examples of 19th century elegance.
These are products to show off, one of a kind gifts found only in Paris, that make this an essential stop off shop when you’re in the city of light.
More insider Paris shop tips:
Stohrer – the oldest cake shop in town…
The best boulangeries in Paris for a real French baguette – it’s official!
Maille in Paris – it’s mustard!
The best chocolate shops in Paris
Vintage Paris shopping guide
Linda Mathieu, a native Texan, lives in France with her French husband. She was a Paris Tour Guide and is the author of Secrets of a Paris Tour Guide, available at www.amazon.com.