Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Herbes de Provence garden in Eygalières

The Sentiers de l'Abondance opened not so far ago and had been on my "to visit list" for a while.
And I luckily found time to the opening party for the new season last Saturday.

It was a real shame that the weather was not with us but I found in love with the place.Charming people in a charming location.

I still will need to go back when weather is nicer and the garden is filled with more plants but I loved the place.

Family heritage, set in a 3 hectares (around 6 acres) old farm house, the Sentiers de l'Abondance (litterally the Abondance Path) grows all kind of herbs (Thyme, Verbena, Rosemary, Mint) and other plants such as geranium.
The visit will take you in the 8 sections (herbs, vegetables, medicinal plants, etc)
The property transform its Verbena, mint, elderberry, geranium into a great "sirop" (syrup) which you can drink in water or, even better in wine.
Mint and Verbena are also cristallised and are yummy yummy.
Products can also be found on the Friday morning market in Eygalières.
Workshops are organised all year round (making your own organic syrup, cristallised mint, your own herbal medecine....)

The property is open for visit on Wednesday and Sartuday from 2 to 5pm from March to June 21st
and then Wednesday, Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 2pm until end of September 2016.
Private visits can easily be arranged when contacting them.

Sentiers de l'Abondance
Mas de Boeuf
13 810 Eygalières
Tél +33 6 22 36 61 83

Peaceful garden of Sentiers de l'Abondance

The "oseraie" path (bamboo)

Rosemary, Thyme & Sage in the herb garden

Probably one of the largest herb garden in Provence "La Spirale"

Verbena Syrup in the boutique

 Since it was the formal season opening, we had the chance to be granted with a light show on the property..

A garden in Provence

Friday, April 1, 2016

Best Savons de Marseille in Provence

Since the 17th Century, Marseille has been a leading manufacturer of the soap know as « Savon de Marseille ». In 1688, King Louis XIV established the rules for the production of the savon de Marseille. He required the use of large cauldrons and pure olive oil and prohibited any use of animal fats.  Any violation of these instructions risked disqualification from certification in Provence. This edict ensured the quality of savon de Marseille throughout the century.

The Authentic Savon de Marseille is a 100% natural product made exclusively from olive, copra and palm oils without synthetic additives or coloring. The soap is made with a minimum of 72% vegetable oil and is then cut and stamped.

Very gentle on the skin, it is often recommended by dermatologists as an alternative to other modern products which may cause skin problems. It can also be used to wash delicate materials such as silk, laces and baby clothes. And it last twice as long as other soap.

Other use :
-          A bar of savon de Marseille placed at the foot of the bed reduces risks of cramp and rhumatism.
-          Rub stains with a damp bar of savon de Marseille just prior washing will prove more effective than most stain remover. Ideal for shirt collars (that’s what mum used to do all her life)
-          Used for baby clothes it reduces the risk of allergy and irritations.

My best Savons de Marseille spots are :

My all time favorite
« L’eau de Cassis » is still ran by the same family since 1851. Firstly creator of unique perfume which you can only find in their shops in Cassis, Marseille and Grasse. They also do their own soaps and if you’re lucky, you may see them being cut in the main Cassis’ shop (you might even participate if you ask gently).

The last 2 original producers in Salon de Provence
« Rampal Latour » opened in 1828 and is still producing the savon de Marseille using the tradition. I love the shop which looks like a 19th Century garage. A large selection of soaps is on offer and you can also buy soaps shaving which I use for my laundry.
Visit are arranged at certain time. Check their web site

« Savon Marius Fabre » was created in 1900 and produces a large selection of perfumed soaps. The factory also boosts a museum which is the most comprehensive one I am aware of (open Monday to Friday in summer, all year round Tuesday and Thursday at 10.30, Wednesday at 2.30). Maybe a bit more « industrial » that the 2 savonneries mentionned above but a nice visit.

A bit farther away in Sault
Sault, the Lavender Capital offers 2 wonderful artisanal soaps maker.
The best in my taste is « Aroma Plant » which has the Best Lavender soap I ever came accross.
Gone organic since 1978 (crazy people…) you will also see the process of distellery, and soaps workshops are organised on certain days. « Bring back you own made soap » is a terrific idea for your christmas gift.
If you plan to visit the place, Aroma Plants alos offer picnic table which you may use for free ;).

Less quaint but nice is « Savonnerie en Provence » .
A place where you can also have a soap or beauty cream workshop. All the machinery can be seen and the soap smell is overwhelming.

This is obviously a small selection of the places I know of. There are more savonnerie that I need to discover but those are my favorite so far…..