Our Vacation Rental Homes in Sablet, Provence

Sablet Village, Vaucluse, Provence, France
Maison des Pelerins and La Baume des Pelerins, or "les Pelerins" as we affectionately refer to our dream come true, of owning our own homes in Provence, are located in the heart of the Vaucluse. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from our guests to "les Pelerins" that they feel they are spending time in their own home in Provence. To be a part of village life, Sablet is the perfect place. "Les Pelerins" dates back to the time when the Popes administered the Catholic Church from Avignon, with a Papal Vice-Legat having a residence right here in Sablet. Our neighbor's home was the Vice-Legat's residence. Ours was one of the buildings that housed visitors and pilgrims and was connected to it, as we can see from the internal portals, and the front door of Maison des Pelerins. Hence the name - Pelerins is French for pilgrims. I hope this Blog will help you get to know Provence and live your Provencal Dream.

Monday, April 8, 2013

The Scent Of Provence - A Visit To L'Occitane en Provence Factory

"From the beginning of my life, the scent of Honeysuckle accompanied me to school every morning..." These words from Olivier Baussan - the Founder of L'Occitane en Provence, welcome visitors to the Company's Museum in Manosque Provence - a very scenic and pleasant two hour drive from our vacation homes - Maison des Pelerins and la Baume des Pelerins in Sablet.

To anyone familiar with this brand of beauty and bodycare products, these words would come as no surprise. The essence of all things Provence can be seen in all of their products - made from local flowers and herbs that often grow wild in the hills of this region. On our first visit to this area, driving along one of the country roads with our family - the scent of wild flowers and herbs all around, I remember remarking to my husband, "no wonder perfume comes so naturally to the French!"

What today is a  worldwide Company, began when a 23 year old young man, bought his first steam still and used it to extract the essential oil from wild Rosemary growing in the nearby hills - to sell at local markets.  Through his vision, dedication, creativity and the quality of his work, L'Occitane en Provence is a favorite with millions of its users.

In the Foyer of the Complex, this old Still reminds visitors that this 
part of the world has spent decades and decades gathering fragrant
 flowers and herbs growing wild in the hills for medicinal and cosmetic use

Lavender is ever present in Provence and here we see  
more examples of  old stills used for  distillation of flowers
We have been huge fans of their products for many years - I really appreciate their use and dedication of local and natural products. Every time I use my hand lotion or use the moisturizing cream, it's easy to close my eyes and let the scent take me right back to Provence.

At the Museum - this display tells visitors about Vervine - a popular local herb, 
used here in  body care products, but is also very often used in herbal teas
The Museum displays also take us through the "years of L'Occitane"
showing how the products have changed and  developed - and styles have changed

We visited the Factory, Museum and Store one afternoon last October and couldn't help but be inspired by what has grown out of these very simple beginnings.  We had booked our tour (in English) through the Visitors Center at Manosque, but arrived a little early and had the opportunity to tour the Museum, before the factory visit, which gave us a good sense of perspective of what the business had become.  

After the tour, of course we had to spend some time in the store which was very well stocked with all our favorites and having taken a tour, we were offered a ten percent discount - which we just had to take advantage of.

Tours are available daily from Monday to Friday with tours in English available. If you would like to take a tour of the L'Occitane Factory and Museum (and do some shopping), it is ESSENTIAL to call ahead and book.  This can be done through the Tourist Information Office at Manosque +33 (0)4 92 72 16 00 (calling from outside France) or the Greoux-les-Bains Tourist Information Office +33 (0) 92 70 26 12 (calling from outside France).  The Factory, Museum and Store are located about 50 kms north of Aix-en-Provence at Z.I. Saint-Maurice, 04100 Manosque 

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