HomeBeautyMust Do: L’Occitane En Provence Factory Tour
Must Do: L’Occitane En Provence Factory Tour
For any skincare lover, one of my must-do’s if you’re headed to the South of France is to visit the L’Occitane En Provence factory. Located in the Manosque region of Provence the location is home to the skincare brand’s factory, museum and garden. It also houses the factory store where visitors can enjoy a 10% off discount on all products.
The tour, which is FREE! lasts an hour offers a behind the scenes look at how the products are formulated, developed and packaged with tours of the factory and informative quick videos on the benefits of the plants used and sustainable practices, some of the history as well as the brands commitment to the environment and their communities.
Drawing inspiration from Mediterranean cultures, Olivier Baussan started L’Occitane in Provence in 1976 creating high quality skincare products and fragrances that were natural and effective. Also very important to the brand is the tractability of the ingredients knowing where all the raw materials come from and the handling.
In 2013 they took their facilities to the next level to control all the manufacturing. Touring the factories you understand the level of detail it takes and elevated steps L’Occitane takes to make sure there is no contamination. The 2,500 m2 Research Centre brings together 100 researchers and over 20 research and development disciplines.
They have a Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory, Analytical Chemistry Laboratory, and Plant Extraction Laboratory as well as an innovation center where they develop and test new products. It generally takes 10-50 trials before the brand finalizes a product.
One of the biggest innovations L’Occitane is known for is their work with the Immortelle flower. Noticing that the flower never fades from it’s bright yellow hue the brand quickly dissolved it had something that others do not. Now with 5 international patents pending the L’Occitane Laboratories attest to the innovative nature of its research and the exceptional anti-aging properties of Immortelle. And the results have not gone unnoticed. Their Divine collection is one of the most popular collections with the Creme Divine being one of their most sought after products. And it’s amazing! I have been a big fan of this product for some time.
Olivier Boussan, who still runs the company actually designs all of the bottles. He sketches them out before handing them over to the team to make the prototypes.
During the tour you also learn about their fragrances, one of my favorite parts of the tour was a room filled with scenting cones you put your nose in to smell the range they offer.
L’Occitane is also known for their hand creams. In fact, they sell 1 Shea Butter cream every 3 seconds! The United Nations Development Programme has actually recognized L’Occitane as an exemplary company for it’s work with and for women of Burkina Faso as they are the biggest purchaser of traditional shea butter for cosmetic use in the region. Traded in the spirit of sustainable joint development L’Occitane has been in partnership with the women of Burkina Faso for the past 30 years. By offering fair price trade this has paved the way for economic emancipation for the woman in the region.
As I mentioned before traceability has been a pillar for the brand and choosing ingredients with the greatest care. They often work with organic farmers for the most natural, plant-derived ingredients to guarantee both optimal and quality with excellent traceability. In addition to Immortalle and Shea Butter, Lavender also lies at the very heart of L’Occitane’s heritage. Since the start of the brand, L’Occitane has been committed to both preserving and underlining the importance of this ingredient and finances lavender research through s specific fund. In 2012 the CRIEPPAM research center was set up an endowment fund, which is presided over by Olivier Baussan to finance research programs aimed at finding the ecological solution to save lavender in the face of challenging climatic changes.
Impressive right? Here are some more fun facts… L’Occitane has:
A presence in over 90 countries
Over 7,000 employees around the worlds
Listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange since 2010
Growth on a constant exchange rate basis of upward of 9.4%
The tour is free and offered in three languages, English, French and Chinese. For more information and to book visit: loccitane.com/factory-tour
Also if you’re in the region enjoy the ultimate L’Occitane experience visit the spa and stay at the Couvent des Minimes. Located about 2.5 hours north of the factory this modern and chic hotel over looks lavender fields and is absolute paradise. Photos and review coming soon but if you’re looking for the utmost relaxing vacation destination few rival a stay at the Couvent des Minimes Hotel & Spa L’Occitane. Check it out at couventdesminimes-hotelspa.com