I didn’t do much planning for my trip to Paris. After all, I’d been there once before with John. We did all the obligatory things – the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the croissants. Not to mention I was trying to orchestrate moving out of Taos just days before I was supposed to be stepping on a plane. I figured I’d done it all once, I could do it all again without much need to do any research. Luckily, my mother felt differently. She came armed with magazine clippings and recommendations from friends on what to see and where to shop. One of those places just happened to be on the next street over from our apartment: Buly 1803.
After passing it nearly every night on our walks, looking into the windows and feeling like we were looking into history, we could never seem to catch it while it was open. On our last day in the city, while walking over to the Musee d’Orsay, we once again walked by Buly and lo and behold, it was open.
“Maybe we can come back after the museum…” my mom said. I grabbed her arm and told her fat chance, we’re going in and we’re going in now. If from the outside I felt like I was looking in on history, on the inside it felt as though we had walked right into it. The shop was designed after an 19th century apothecary, and I imagine it smelled like one, too. With candles burning and the delicately scented beautiful soaps and perfumes throughout, it was the opposite of a sensory assault (looking at you, Sephora) and more like a finding yourself on the pages of an 19th century novel. The team that resurrected Cire Trudon, France’s oldest candle-maker, is responsible for Buly 1803 and what an incredible job they’ve done. It took a moment for me to realize I was back in 21st century Paris after we’d left the shop, little bags of body lotions, oil soaps and scented matches – yes, scented matches -swinging from our hands. Although I was happy to be in 21st century Paris because, well, indoor plumbing.
They have 4 main scents that are carried in their soaps, lotions, perfumes and other items – Scottish Moss, English Honey, Mexican Tuberose and Makassar, an oriental fragrance I had sprayed on myself and regret not buying with a fierceness usually reserved for cheesecake. Needless to say, I am both counting down the days and equally dreading the moment online shopping becomes available. For now, though, experiencing the shop is the best. From all the little nooks and crannies of the shop’s amazing display to learning more about each product from the staff, it was really a special experience. My lotions were boxed up and labeled with my name, the date of my purchase and the details of the product. Were it not for a bit of an explosion in my luggage I would have been able to show you pictures of all that, but suffice to say I’m just happy these beautiful glass bottles survived the trip.
These bottles are enough to make any bathroom look and feel luxurious, nevermind the good-smelling-stuff within. For now, I suppose I’ll just have to head back to the City of Lights to stock up on my new obsession. You can read a little more about Buly 1803, if you’re interested, here and here.