Souvenirs from Provence

From the producer to the bag

Mis à jour le 5 October 2019

"Savon de Marseille" soap after a tour of the Fer à Cheval soap factory

The "Savonnerie du Fer à Cheval" is Marseille's oldest soap maker, dating back to 1852 no less! This family-run business proudly upholds the "Living Heritage and French Expertise" and unveils some of its secrets when you visit the factory. The tour includes the cauldron room, drying room and moulding workshop – everything you need to know about the world-famed "Savon de Marseille" soap! And you're sure to get a bubbling smile when you offer a souvenir from the brand-new boutique opened in June 2018! Featuring treats such as soap cubes with olive oil, body lotions and Savon de Marseille washing powder, you're bound to find the gift of your dreams there!

Practical info:

66 Chemin de Sainte-Marthe, 13014 Marseille
Free tours on Wednesdays at 2 p.m. throughout the year and on Mondays and Fridays at 10.30 a.m. in summer (arrive at least 10 minutes beforehand) – Length: 45 mins

Roy René "Calisson" candies directly from the confectioner

How can anyone resist Aix-en-Provence's typical almond paste candy? It's simply impossible, especially if you visit the factory beforehand... The "Confiserie du Roy René" and "Musée du Calisson" museum are located just 10 minutes outside Aix-en-Provence, in a beautiful setting of almond trees. And you'll learn everything there is to know about how Calissons are made, from the almond flowering season to baking. Simply succulent!

Practical info:

5380 Route d'Avignon 13100 Aix-en-Provence

Free self-guided tours from Monday to Saturday, from 9.30-12.30 a.m. and 1.30-7 p.m.
Sundays from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.


Do you live in the Bouches-du-Rhône? With the My Provence Pass, benefit from a free ticket for every paying visitor
July 7th to September 2nd:

• Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Guided tour with Calisson tasting
Times: 10.30 a.m. and 3 p.m. / Price: €5 – Free for under 18s

• Every Wednesday - "The Secret of the Calisson": guided tour including Calisson-making demonstrating
Times: 10.30 a.m. – 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. / Price: €5 – Free for under 18s6

• Saturdays & Sundays: Guided tour with Calisson tasting
Time: 10.30 a.m. / Price: €5 – Free for under 18s

All year round:
Monday to Sunday: audio guide available at the boutique / Price: €3

What is calisson? How is it made? Why is it a rhombus? Visit the factory and the museum of Calisson to know the answers you are looking for ;)

Lavender essential oil from the Bouches-du-Rhône's last remaining distillery

There was a time when lavender bloomed throughout the Bouches-du-Rhône area, but the rural exodus led farmers to abandon their fields and lavender growing gradually died out in our corner of Provence. Luckily, we still have Eric Garcin from the Moulin Saint-Vincent, whose distilling expertise was handed down to him by his father. He continues to instil the pretty village of Jouques with the delicious scents of lavender and the other flowering plants he distils. In summer, you'll find him hard at work in the distilling room and in winter, he makes olive oil at the mill. And all year round, his pretty boutique** sells essential oils and olive oils made at Moulin Saint Vincent**, together with cosmetics and decorative items by other local creators.

Practical info:

Chemin de la Grenouillère 13490 Jouques

Boutique opening hours January-February: Wednesday & Saturday from 9-12 a.m.
Rest of year: Tuesday to Saturday from 9-12 a.m. and 3-6 p.m.

Freshly-sculpted vases and crockery from Poterie Ravel

In the land of Pagnol, it isn't only Manon des Sources that attracts tourists to Aubagne, there's also pottery! Aubagne is the capital of clay: in bygone days, the town was a major producer of roof, wall and floor tiles. Various artisans are still flying the flag, including the Poterie Ravel, a family-run factory founded in 1837. On Thursday mornings, you can enjoy a fascinating tour of the factory and discover how the products are moulded, fired and glazed. Interestingly, the pottery takes care of production from A to Z and even has its own clay quarry! Not to be missed. What's more, the factory shop offers a 30-50% discount on products with minor defects.

Practical info:

8, rue des Goums 13400 Aubagne
Free guided tours on Thursdays at 10.30 a.m. – Length: 30 mins

Printed Provencal fabrics from Les Olivades

Our now-famous printed cottons first arrived in Marseille from India in the 16th century thanks to the East India Company. Local production only kicked off in the following century, but it was very much a craft industry and even prohibited at one time. In 1818, the Geneva fabric printer Léonard Quinche, along with two associates from Tarascon, set up the first factory producing the so-called "indienne" printed cottons in Saint-Etienne-du-Grès . The company changed hands several times until it was finally bought up by Pierre Boudin, who launched the brand "Les Olivades" in 1977. Today, it is the only company in Provence that continues to perpetuate Marseille's printed cotton tradition. You can discover this ancient local expertise with a tour of the Olivades factory, featuring the printing room, machines, pigments, decorating techniques and a beautiful shop. A colourful experience!

Practical info:

5 Avenue Barberin Saint Etienne du Grès
Tours by appointment, 6 people minimum: €4 per person. With the My Provence Pass, benefit from a free ticket for every paying visitor

On holiday in Provence, discover the printing on fabric in a house that perpetuates the ancient technique of the technique of the flat frame and leave with a tablecloth or a decorative object for the house.

And now it's up to you to pass on the thousand and one anecdotes told by our passionate local producers and artisans! You won't just be offering a simple souvenir, but the story of our region, its creative talent, families and ancient know-how...

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