Since as early as the ninth century, master soap makers in Marseille have created exquisite, gentle soaps using native olive oils and the alkaline ash from marine plants of the Mediterranean. However, it wasn’t until 1688 and an edict under the mercantilist policies of Jean-Baptiste Colbert that these fine soaps — containing a minimum of 72% vegetable oils with no animal additives — came to be known as “Savon de Marseille” (Marseille Soap). Marseille Soap’s popularity continued through the 1700s. In the 1880s the number of soap works in the region peaked at nearly one hundred. There are now less than five soap makers that still craft Marseille Soap according to the centuries-old tradition. It takes the Maitre de Savon (soapmaster) two weeks to make Savon de Marseille. The delicate mixture of olive oil, alkaline ash from sea plants and Mediterranean Sea salted water are heated for ten days in antique cauldrons, then poured into open pits where it hardens.
Orange Blossom French Soap
These soaps are made with 72-80% olive oil. They can be cut into smaller sizes, used with a loofah or scrub brush or left as is!