The 17th century is a time when perfume takes all its importance in the West. Dominating the court during the reign of Louis XIV, perfume was closely associated with leather, accompanying all items such as gloves, belts, shoes, as well as wigs and handkerchiefs. Perfume was essential not only for women, but also for men of high society. The most popular perfumes of the time were flowery ones. Jasmine and tuberose were the favorites of women, while other raw materials such as musk, patchouli, vetiver and sandalwood delighted perfumers and the French royal court.
Perfumery practices at the Royal Court
In contrast to the prestige and royalty it embodies, Versailles is often described as a dirty place in books of the time. Perfume was used as a means of masking body odor and embalming the air of the Court.
Indeed, since the Great Black Death of 1348, the general belief that water weakens the body by dilating the pores of the epidermis making it more susceptible to absorbing micro-organisms, led to a widespread fear of water in French society. Even the Sun King Louis XIV avoided water in his purification process, replacing it with wine alcohol. As a result, perfumes and aromatic scents were used to mask odors and purify the interior of the body by protecting it from polluted air. It was not until the 18th century that good hygiene practices appeared.
Associating the name of the Binet family, patronymic of the chief wigmaker of King Louis XIV, with the name "Papillon" ten years after its creation, the BINET-PAPILLON brand perpetuates today the great know-how of French perfumery in homage to Benoit Binet's grandson: Sylvestre Binet, perfumer installed in the rue des Petits-Champs in Paris in the 18th century.