One of my favorite things to buy in France is soap. Not just any soap, but that gorgeous Marseille Soap. This trip, I bought the amazing colored cubes of Marseille soap from Le Sérail for all of us. Glorious colors, beautiful scents, these cubes of Marseille just make everyone happy! Introducing our latest French imported soaps that I hope you will love as much as we do, Savonnerie Le Sérail soap.
Marseille is the oldest city in France, and the capital of the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera. It’s charming and colorful! Here are a few snap shots of the Marseille.
Savonnerie Le Sérail Soap
There are only four “real” savonneries of Marseille soap left in France. They are: Marius Fabre, Fer à Cheval, Le Sérail, and Savonnerie du Midi.
Le Sérail has been making soap in Marseille since Vincent Boetto returned to Marseille in 1949, and founded the company. He bought a farm located inside the city, and installed the equipment necessary for the manufacture of the traditional Marseille soap cubes, and in particular the cauldrons in which the soap paste was made. These days, his son, Daniel, proud of this heritage, runs the soap factory and perpetuates the know-how left by his father.
All the equipment at the Le Sérail factory is period, and has been preserved as well as all the steps necessary for the manufacture of traditional Marseille soap. The factory has been awarded “Enterprise of Living Heritage” by the Marseille Chamber of Commerce.
Since the Middle Ages big blocks of olive oil soap were made in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille with olive oil from local groves, marine ash and sea salted water. The quality of these soaps was famous throughout Europe and in 1688 French law declared that only soaps made according to certain ancient methods could bear the important mark Savon de Marseille. Now the most prized of all soaps in the world, Savon de Marseille is still crafted by hand, in Marseille, just as it has been for hundreds of years.
It takes the Maitre de Savon (soap master) two weeks to make Marseille Soap, using only the purest ingredients. Ingredients are heated for ten days in antique cauldrons. At just the right time The soap master knows just the right moment to pour the mixture into open pits where it slowly hardens.
Respect for tradition makes it so that Le Serail soap is of impeccable quality. At the Le Sérail soap factory, time has stood still and they’ve have chosen to keep manufacturing methods that are three hundred years old.
After curing, the soap is cut into cubes and stamped, the soaps are then set out to dry in the sun and cool winds. I pretty much always choose the 150 gr. cubes, because personally I find the larger cubes so unwieldly to use.
The soaps I fell in love with this time are the colored soaps. Each one contains natural crushed elements such as rose petals or lavender flowers which exfoliate the skin. These soaps are made from Marseille soap flakes, with the added natural crushed elements and sometimes natural perfume oils. Aren’t they glorious??
This French Marseille Rose Petals Soap contains crushed rose petals and rose extract. And it’s pink! Such a pretty color. Each of the soaps can be slightly different in color, that is the beauty of soaps made with natural ingredients.
Savon de Marseille is completely biodegradable, and is manufactured in an environmentally friendly way. Recommended by dermatologists all over the world, it’s been trusted for generations in France to clean everything from linens to sweet little faces.
Stamped with its weight in grams – this is the weight of the soap “frais,” or fresh, in the factory. As the soap dries, it will lose weight as it becomes drier. The stamping of the weight is a custom left over from past centuries which allowed household managers to compare prices and plan their budgets. The Vineyard soap is a beautiful wine color, it has natural oils and crushed lavender blooms.
The French Lavender Savon de Marseille Cube Soap is a gorgeous soap made in a 5 step process with natural oils and crushed lavender blooms, then pressed in antique molds. These soaps smell amazing!
Gentle on all types of skin, even the most sensitive ones. These are quadruple milled for long-lasting use. All the soaps are hand made, and may have rough edges, soap “dust” or a thin layer of salts from the curing process which washes off the first time. Normal, this is how it comes from France, unwrapped. A wonderful gift for your favorite host or hostess, or you.
While you may not be visiting the actual soap factory in Marseille, I hope you treat yourself to a few of these colorful cubes of wonderful soap. Not only are they beautiful, they are good for your skin, and bring a touch of France to your home!
You can Visit Savonnerie Le Sérail here:
50, Bd Anatole de la Forge
Free visits on Friday between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.
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