A French Perspective in New York...
Join me as I search New York for everything that reminds me of Paris but of course is still New York. Follow me as I figure out what it means to be Paris in New York.
Yesterday, I was shopping at Conran Shop when my eyes got attracted by a display of Savon de Marseille soaps blocks and liquid hand soaps.
I used to see those big creamy blocks of Savon de Marseille at my Grand Mother's. I always found that they were smelling bad and ugly looking. And here we are, nicely packaged with wonderful fumes (Verbena, Cherry, Lavander, Ylang-Ylang), our Savon de Marseille is in New York City...
My mother used to say : " when you have a bad stain on your shirt, rub it with Savon de Marseille, let it soak over night and it will go away.." So I tried. I brought back my Savon de Marseille from the South of France and used it whenever I had a stain on my kids' clothes and... it WORKS !
So what's about Savon de Marseille ? Why are they still crafting it after one thousand years?
"Totally biodegradable, the white soap is made with palm oil, the green with at least 50% olive oil. Both varieties are exquisite, ultra-moisturizing skin care. Marseille Soap is recommended by dermatologists throughout the world for dry skin and other ailments. Its incredible purity and moisturizing properties make it ideal for sensitive skins. In France it has been trusted for generations to cleanse everything from linens to little faces.
Big blocks of olive oil based soap have been crafted for one thousand years in the South of France.
It takes the Maitre de Savon (soapmaster) two weeks to make Marseille Soap. The delicate mixture of olive and vegetable oils, alkaline ash from sea plants and Mediterranean Sea salted water are heated for ten days in antique cauldrons. Know-how passed down through the generations will reveal to the soapmaker the right moment to pour the mixture into open pits where it slowly hardens. Cut into cubes and stamped, the soaps are then set out to dry in the sun and cool winds. Only a few savonneries (soap factories) near Marseille still make this legendary soap in the traditional manner. But Savon de Marseille is once again being rediscovered for its extraordinary purity and gentle skin care, and its popularity is again on the rise worldwide." www.marseillesoap.com
Also at Conran Shop, the old fashioned soap "dispensers" that were originally designed for French public schools. A perfect solution for busy hand washing centers like the kitchen sink, children's bathroom and outdoor showers...A simple chrome bracket mounts on the wall and the lightly scented vegetable soap slides onto the rod and is held with a sturdy cap screw. The soap lasts for a long, long time, and we'll soon be offering refills just in case you go nuts and use yours up quickly