La Bonne Mère, The Rest is History

The Notre-Dame de la Garde Basilica, the mythical monument that watches over the city of Marseille, is a place of worship but also a symbol of protection throughout the ages. It’s also the inspiration for the line of soaps created by L’OCCITANE and called Bonne Mère. Let’s find out why.
By Caroline Taret

Many Marseille locals enjoy a panoramic view of the Notre-Dame de la Garde basilica that majestically towers over the Phoenician city. More than just a monument, it’s a participant in the life of the city: the inhabitants refer to it in everyday language as “La Bonne Mère”, or the “Good Mother” (with the local accent if you please), which confers to the Virgin Mary a beneficial aura whatever your beliefs. The founder of L’OCCITANE en Provence Olivier Baussan found inspiration for the “Bonne Mère” line of soaps by collecting old enameled advertising signs, resulting in a little perfumed block stamped with old-fashioned writing intimately tied to the history of the soap factory in the south of France. The team at Fantastic Provence took off to discover the story: from a visit to Notre-Dame de la Garde and its importance in the hearts of everybody from Marseille, to L’OCCITANE’s inspirations, revealed by Pascale Baussan in charge of the design department, to the M&L factory that looks after the production of this soap perfumed with verbena or rose. La Bonne Mère, it’s a long story that we are happy to share with you here.

To visit in the area

Café des Epices

Chef Arnaud de Grammont’s restaurant has become the not-to-be-missed “bistronomic” address located just a few meters from the Old Port.

Les Calanques

Because to leave Marseille to go and swim in the most beautiful coves of the French Riviera is an activity as popular with locals as it is with visitors.

Le Panier

Marseille’s working-class neighborhood facing La Bonne Mère is one of the most bustling and authentic neighborhoods of the city. To get lost in it is to make some beautiful discoveries.

La Caravelle

The most beautiful view of Marseille and La Bonne Mère is from the balcony of the Bellevue Hotel and its restaurant La Caravelle.

Notre-Dame de la Garde
Rue Fort du Sanctuaire
13281 MARSEILLE Cedex 06
T 04 91 13 40 80


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