Jean Francois Houbigant established his famous company at the tender age of 23, in 1774. The modest shop was located at no. 19 rue de Faubourg Saint-Honore, Paris and was named “A la Corbeille de Fleurs.” His first products were toilet waters, scented gloves and powders.
In 1872, most of the products from the House of Houbigant were sold to the French aristocracy, nobility, clergy and the best known names in France. Among his most famous clients was Queen Marie Antoinette, who reportedly hurried to Houbigant to get her perfume bottles refilled with Eau de Mousseline and Eau de Millefleurs before fleeing from Paris.
The company survived the French Revolution and was passed on to Jean-Francois’s son, and then to Chardin, another perfumer, who was appointed Napoleon III’s personal perfumer.
In his book Memories of Saint-Helena, Victor Masson wrote that Napoleon’s wife Josephine was a devoted patron of Houbigant. Other famous clients included Princess Adelaide d’Orleans in 1829, Queen Victoria of England in 1838, the Emperor Napoleon III in 1870, and the Tsar of Russia Nikolai II in 1890, all of whom appointed Houbigant as their royal perfumer.
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