After an adventurous life that took him to Brazil, in 1870 he joined his brother Henry in Egypt. First, he was curator of the Egyptian Museum Cairo, where he enriched himself on the sale of artifacts. After Auguste Mariette commanded him stop, he made Brugsch a valuable employee. He became assistant to Mariette and Gaston Maspero. He was particularly involved in the recovery of the mummies from the Cachette in Western Thebes. Among the mummies discovered here, there was also that of Ramses II.
After the death of his brother in 1894, he moved to Nice in 1914, where he also died.