One day in Paris in 1775, a young man, Jean-Francois Houbigant, hung a hand painted sign of a basket of flowers over his little shop in rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré. From the start his fragrances found favour with royalty and the nobility. Houbigant taught the titled women at the Court of Versailles how to perfume their fans so that just a fragrant flutter would send out a romantic message. Over the centuries, the House of Houbigant became perfumer to the royal courts of Europe. Josephine, the future Empress of France, belonged to a group of stylish young men and women called “The Muscadins” because of their craze for musk which was Josephine’s favourite essence. Houbigant fragrances travelled in Napoleon’s campaign chest during the years when he was conquering Europe.