Do you know why soap operas are so-called? Because afternoon radio and tv dramas were sponsored by soap manufacturers! Come to Provence instead – and watch something much more interesting!
“Savon de Marseille” is a gentle artisanal olive oil based soap used to cleanse everything from fabrics to the face. But what is this “Magic Soap“?
Modern day soap operas first took center stage around 1950 – but soap fans have
been singing the praises of the famous Savon de Marseille since its debut at the end
of the 14 th century.
Enter Louis XIV, the Sun King! Watching from the wings he felt it his sovereign duty
to protect a national treasure! And voilà – in 1688 he enacted the Colbert Edict: only
soaps adhering to strict ancient standards and containing 100% olive oil were worthy
of the Savon de Marseille label. Today other 100% natural oils may be used
providing the content is 72%. No soft soaping here – there’s no way around those
strict rules for today’s soap makers – and only a handful qualify.
Savon de Marseille is a gentle artisanal soap and still used to cleanse everything
from fabrics to the face.
See what a guest on one of my tours for women had to say about the magic soap she picked up at the St Remy de Provence market.
“Hi Everyone! Hope the rest of your summer is going well! I have been
One thing I want to share is I bought a chunk of the ‘Marseille all purpose
soap’ that Nancy recommended. I have used it a lot on grease spots etc and it
works great. Today though I pulled out a white tablecloth that I’ve had for
years and when looking at it, it had multiple oxidized stains over it. I didn’t
think I put it away dirty but it had been packed for five years! So I took the
soap and dampened it rubbing on all of the stains. Didn’t have anything to
lose! Threw it in the washer on a short cold-water cycle. Voila! Came out
spotless and stainless! In all these years of removing stains this takes the
‘cake of soap’! Wish I had bought more. Jo and I split the purchase 3/10E.
Should have bought all 3! Will just have to go back to St. Remy!”
Anne, July 2022
No wonder my small group tours to the south of France are so popular. From the fragrant town of the perfume capital Grasse, to hotspots frequented by Van Gogh, Picasso and other renowned
artists, to glorious fields of lavender and sunflowers, to buzzy Marseille and charming
villages, to the hangouts of the rich and famous, Provence and the Cote d’Azur never disappoint.
DO YOU WANT TO TRAVEL TO THE SOUTH OF FRANCE FOR SOME MAGIC ?
By popular demand, I will be taking my guests on 4 tours to Provence and the Cote d’Azur in 2023.
April 17-23, 2023 : On this trip for women, you’ll see the best that Provence has to offer and you’ll enjoy the hands on experiences we don’t want you to miss.
June 10-17, 2023 : A Culinary Adventure to Provence hosted by award winning cookbook author Cheryl Alters Jamision
September 11 – 23, 2023 : Travel with best selling author Patricia Sands to Provence, Cote d’Azur, Occitanie and Camargue
September 28 – October 5, 2023 : This is the perfect combo trip to villages of Provence and to the stunningly beautiful Cote d’Azur – for women only.
MY FAVORITE MARKETS TO BUY SOAPS IN THE SOUTH OF FRANCE
Uzès, Aix en Provence, Arles, Marseille, Cassis, St Remy, Antibes, Nice.
FACTS ABOUT GENUINE SAVON DE MARSEILLE
Only five soap makers still craft Marseille soap in the centuries-old tradition. Their soaps carry a certification mark with Union des Professionals du Savon de Marseille on the packaging
A soap maker – Maitre de Savon – takes two weeks to make Savon de Marseille It is totally biodegradable; manufacturing is environmentally friendly It must be made in a cauldron with plant-based oils, no dyes, fragrances or preservatives. All ingredients must be from the Marseille region
Soaps range from 100g to 1,000 blocks and must be stamped with the 72% natural oil content.
Just as sparkling wine may only be labelled Champagne if produced in that region, so must genuine Savon de Marseille be produced around Marseille.