Marius Fabre French Marseille Soap : Soap Cubes & Flakes Awash with Tradition & Style

Marius Fabre French Marseille Soap

Image : Yaling Sabelle for Love French Style.

There are some things that just remind you of holidays aren’t there? Like a citron pressé in the shade in Avignon or a new straw basket from La Rochelle. I’ve always loved French Marseille soap and have spent many a sun drenched holiday admiring the delicious looking green cubes lining the stalls on those beautiful Provence markets.

French Marseille soap is one of those timeless French products that’s been used tirelessly by men, women and children for what seems like forever – many swear by its virtues to this day. Marius Fabre is one of France’s most respected soap makers from Salon de Provence and have used the same recipe for their olive oil French soap for generations. They’ve been French soap makers since 1900 and are as popular as ever in 2016. I was lucky enough to receive a lovely parcel from them recently and quickly discovered that there are a million and one great ways to use the famous Marseille soap at home.

Marseille Soap as a Natural Beauty Product

This is lovely Brigitte Billard, my neighbour at my little French house. Her grandmother used to live in my house many moons ago and she has many fond memories of the traditional French way of life in our little village. She grew up with Marseille soap like many other French women and when you look at the rather short list of ingredients in a Marius Fabre soap, it makes sense to use it as a natural skincare product. The smell is just lovely!

French olive oil soap

Her beautiful French garden reminds me of a Provence house with topiary, sunny terraces, vines and ancient stonework.

French soap makersFrench terrace design ideas French garden terrace French topiary design ideas French marseille laundry soap

French Marseille soap

Brigitte remembers the familiar scent of Marseille soap well and was delighted to reconnect with this iconic French brand.

” Marseille soap has a fresh, clean smell, it takes me back to my childhood every time I smell it!”

Marius Fabre Marseille French Soap

There are some things in this part of France that never change and Brigitte has many fond memories of traditional French life in our sleepy village. Before the days of washing machines, her grandmother would have washed her clothes down at the ancient lavoir or washhouse.

“They all used Marseille soap to wash their clothes back in those days and used to scrub them quite ferociously to remove any stubborn marks and stains.”

Washing clothes with French Marseille Soap

Cubes of Marseille soap can still be used to wash clothes but the modern Marseille soap has moved on enormously. It’s a respected and effective detergent for fabric and amazing at removing stains. I love the version for laundry in liquid form and its extremely good for washing gentle fabrics like wool or silk. What a beautiful label it has too, so vintage French!

I also adore the solid stain removing bar with bristles…amazing at removing stains from collars and cuffs.

Marseille soap with brush

Image:Yaling Sabelle for Love French Style

Marius Fabre 4th Generation

Marius Fabre Marseille Soap Makers

In Salon de Provence, the Fabre family soap making business makes more than 1000 metric tonnes of soap every year which speaks volumes about it’s popularity. Still in the same family all these years on, the business is now run by Marie and Julie Bousquet-Fabre, Marius’ great granddaughters. Real Marseille soap is not made using any harsh chemicals or additives. In fact, you can only really call French soap Marseille soap if it’s made using the traditional open cauldron cooking method which takes several days and at least a century of savoir-faire. From green soap cubes to perfumed soap bars, hammam black soap to household cleaning soap, Marius Fabre soaps can be used for all kinds of different things including washing, body care, household cleaning, laundry, garden plant care… it’s uses are many and endless. 

French Grandma Marseille Soap Tips!

washing clothes with french marseille soap

Image: Yaling Sabelle for Love French Style

We know Brigitte’s grandma was a big fan of the soap for scrubbing stains from her family’s clothes. Here are some other more unusual ways to use French Marseille soap, not sure about the toothpaste tip mind!

  1. Moth repellent – Hang a slice of Marseille soap in your wardrobe
  2. Cramp relief – A slice of Marseille soap at the bottom of your bed relieves cramp and rheumatism
  3. Stain removal – Rub stains with Marseille soap before washing
  4. Cuts and grazes –  Light antiseptic properties to help heal minor cuts and grazes
  5. Toothpaste – Good for the gums, it cleans and whitens teeth

You can find more tips and tricks on uses of Marseille French soap by clicking the link here.

The Real Deal

Real French Savon de Marseille

Image: Yaling Sabelle for Love French Style

Incredibly, over 80% of Marseille soap on the market is counterfeit. The Fabre great granddaughters are passionate about the quality of their product and their family heritage. To know you are buying real Marseille soap, it must comply with the following regulations –

*Soap composition: 100% vegetable oils, no added fragrance, colouring-free and additive free.

*A specific manufacturing process: the Marseille process whereby the soap is cooked in a cauldron for ten days or so.

*Geographic origin: made in or around Marseille

where to buy marseille soap

Image: Yaling Sabelle for Love French Style

Every now and again you discover a gem of a product that has gone full circle and reinvented itself all over again. The ancient methods of soap making combined with all natural ingredients make real Marseille soap an attractive alternative to other skincare products full of unpronounceable ingredients. It is better for the environment than most standard detergents and gentle and nourishing for skin as well as being extremely economical – one cube goes on and on and on…

When you pick up a bar of Marseille soap, you can feel the difference straight away, it has to contain at least 72% oil and you can feel it’s hydrating properties just by touching it. I loved the smell on laundry and thought it washed bed linen in particular absolutely beautifully as well as being lovely and moisturising for body. We’re certainly new fans, are you?

Have you ever tried Marseille soap? I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks so much to Marius Fabre for sending me their beautiful Marseille soap to try and to Brigitte Billard and Yaling Sabelle for contributing to the photos. Merci beaucoup! x

Savonnerie Marius Fabre
148, avenue Paul Bourret
BP12 – 13651 Salon-de-Provence Cedex


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2 thoughts on “Marius Fabre French Marseille Soap : Soap Cubes & Flakes Awash with Tradition & Style

  1. Pingback: DIY Project : Inviting Lighting in Annie Sloan Antibes Green - Love French Style

  2. Pingback: Marius Fabre Marseille Soap - A Natural Facial Cleanser - Love French Style

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