Savon de Marseille

savon.jpgMarseille as a town is not particularly known for its cleanliness, but one of its most famous products is the soap. Le savon de Marseille is a French institution. It has been around for a least 700 years using, as its main ingredients, olive (the green variety) or palm oil (the white variety) and Mediterranean sea water. It traditionally comes as a big cube of soap and it it used to clean everything and anything. My grandmother still uses it to clean all her dishes as she does not trust modern dish-washing liquids to clean well enough! (Isn’t it funny how that generation is actually a lot more environmentally friendly than we are, without even trying?)

I personally swear it is the only way to get rid of nasty stains on baby and kids’ clothes. Just rub it on, soak it and wash normally, and most of the time the soap has gotten rid of all evidence.

There are lots of fancy versions of Savon de Marseille, but there’s actually only a handful of ‘real’ soap makers left producing the real deal in and around Marseille. Here in France you buy it in the local supermarkets. The rule of thumb is: the less frill on the packaging, the better the quality of soap!!

-Emilie

6 COMMENTS - Add your own

1. marie | June 29, 2008 | Reply

Emilie – you are so right – this is the best product ever !
for a softer option – Martin the vintage brand created a soft version of the savon de marseille – a detergent which is soap flakes and very gentle for the baby skin :
http://www.littlefashiongallery.com/shop/en/martin_vintage-babies_018_months-marseille_soap_flakes_detergent-p-665.html
take care
Marie

2. Michela | June 29, 2008 | Reply

I also use it on nasty stains, soak it…then wash it normally!

3. Courtney | June 30, 2008 | Reply

I was in Paris a few years ago after my first son was born. My mom and family were wit us, and I remember my mom wanted to go to the store to get a good hand-wash liquid that would get out a nasty stain she got on a beautiful summer blouse. The lady in the grocery store literally handed her a bar of soap and we thought she had just misunderstood us, so we asked another person. That person also handed us a bar of soap. So… we took it back to the hotel and Voila- it worked like magic. My mom still travels with that bar of soap in her overnight bag!
I should pick some up when I’m in France next…

4. Fred | June 30, 2008 | Reply

… and the smell of it… reminds me of my great grandmother and my grandmother and makes me think of my mum who is still using it… maybe one day my daugther will say the same! Love it.

5. French Soaps LTD | June 30, 2008 | Reply

Thank you for referencing our Savon de Marseille soaps. Please, if you are going to use our copyrighted image, kindly provide a link to our website or an attribution. Thank you.

6. Esther | June 30, 2008 | Reply

I have a big block of Marseille soap next to my washing machine together with a toothbrush to attack nasty stains… And indeed, I too love the smell!

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