Created in 1976 by Olivier Baussan, L’OCCITANE en Provence opened its first store in 1981 in Voix, a few kilometers from the village of Forcalquier. Thirty years later, the brand is present in 85 countries; the first overseas store opened in Hong Kong in 1995 and the 2,000th store was inaugurated in Pisa in spring 2012. A genuine ambassador of Provence lifestyle, L’OCCITANE creates more than just products, it invites people on a true journey to the heart of nature and Provence. The interior design of L’OCCITANE boutiques is inspired by Provence. Inside, a genuine local atmosphere is favored with open spaces dotted with furniture and objects evoking Provence of yesterday, but also of today. Traditional terracotta tiles on the floor and wooden furniture recreates the warm and friendly atmosphere of Provencal farmhouses. Stalks of lavender and bunches of “Immortelle” flowers remind visitors of the importance of the ingredients sourced in Provence and Corsica for the creation of their unique products. Since 2009, Olivier Baussan’s brand is also inspired by the greenhouses in whose shelter plants grow. Tall plates of glass flanked by wrought-iron poles decorate the stores, like a window on to Provence.
Another important influence (and one that can’t be ignored in Provence!) is the market: it’s impossible to spend a few days in the region dear to Pagnol and Giono without coming across a square filled with canopied stands presenting local fruit and vegetables, herbs and freshly cut flowers. Like these ephemeral arrangements, the boutique shelves display the brand’s products as well as their ingredient. But what charms the most in this fit out are the little objects: each boutique features woven baskets, and the copper still destined for distilling essential oils, a determining accessory in the history of L’OCCITANE, as reveal the founder’s photos of the brand in 1976 at the wheel of his Citroën Deux Cheveaux in the Provence countryside.
An agricultural and human adventure that continues today since L’OCCITANE calls on local producers and distillers for the fabrication of all their products, like for example Philippe Soguel, distiller at the Bleu Provence distillery in Nyons who after lavender and lavandin this summer is preparing to distill verbena. As for the façade, the boutiques are dressed in yellow, a reference to the ochers of Provence, that we find in the Luberon region and particularly around the village of Roussillon. Despite their assertive style, the L’OCCITANE boutiques adapt to the architecture of each city while maintaining an identity, whether they open their doors in Tokyo or New York. Next adventure in Zurich: the Bahnhofstrasse will soon have its little piece of Provence.