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Discover Provence - History

Discover Provençe...   A Brief History

In the beginning there was Massilia... 


Long before France even existed, in around 600 B.C., the Phocaéans - Greeks from the city of Phocaéa in Asia Minor, established a prosperous Mediterranean seaport called Massilia, the city we know today as Marseilles. The Greek colony of Massilia  eventually came under Roman rule, and it was the Romans who gave this region the name by which it has been known for much of the time since then. 

In the second century, "Gallia Narbonensis", the Roman province covering the south of France from the Pyrenees to the Alps, was so important and sufficiently close to Rome that it was known in everyday speech as "Provincia", (the province), or as we know it in modern day French, "La Provence". 

scupture of julius caesar

With time, the name became definitively attached to the eastern part of Gallia Narbonensis, the area to the east of the Rhône, whose capital was a town called Aquae Sextiae, the town we know today as Aix-en-Provence.

ancient greek coins marseille

Roman civilisation flourished in this part of southern France that was not too dissimilar to Latium, the region around Rome and the richness of this region in classical times can still be seen today, especially in the area round the lower Rhône valley which has fine classical remains, including the amphitheatre at Orange, the Pont-du-Gard aqueduct, the arena at Arles, the remarkable Roman remains at Nimes, just outside modern-day Provence, and indeed many more sites.

Ancient Greek Coins - Massalia Drachme (150-130 BC) 

Until the fifteenth century Provence did not even belong to France, and after the demise of the Roman empire it was one of those regions that was fought over continuously. The coastal areas in particular were occupied in their time by Visigoths and Ostrogoths, as well as by Catalans and Moors.

In the age of Charlemagne, the great European emperor and contemporary of England's King Alfred, Provence formed the southern part of the "middle empire". In the late middle ages, the city of Avignon and the area around it belonged to the Popes, who established their palace there.


Most of Provence was incorporated into France in 1486.

sculpture massilia

Marseilles - Massilia, “La Cité Phocéenne"

So in historical terms, Provence is older than France itself, and was a centre of culture, learning and commerce long before Paris and northern France acquired the territorial importance that they have today.

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Marseille soaps have been produced by French artisan craft master soap makers using

traditional methods for over 600 years.


Uniting the rich organic produce of Provence with natural and ecological values, they create exquisite soaps with exceptional skin care properties.


Here you can discover their heritage and find out why they are internationally recognised

as some of the best soaps in the world.

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* With the exception of soaps containing organic milk, all of our soaps are suitable for vegans.

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