Provence is known around the world for many, many things: the beauty of its landscapes, the quality of light that has drawn the best artists for hundreds of years, its southern dynamism and joie de vivre…how many people, however, associate Provence with soap?
Well, at the Marseille Soap Museum you’ll start to understand why the people of Provence are proud of their industrial heritage as well as their natural habitats. Soap-making has been a feature of local life since the Middle Ages and this museum superbly demonstrates the degree of skill and know-how that goes into this craft, with fascinating displays and exhibits of soap-making tools. It’s an art that has been passed down from generation to generation – and this continues to be the case today – the museum is housed on the premises of a working soap factory, the Marius Fabre factory, first established in 1900. Further information can be found here.
The museum website also has a useful section which should give you a few ideas for excursions in the local area. As well as several natural parks, like the Camargue and the Luberon, there are lots of picturesque towns to see such as Arles, Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, pictured below.