The generational chain has broken in this Salon soap-making dynasty, which can be traced back to the French Revolution! But not without the blessings of the last owner, René Rampal. Because his descendants did not want to take over the family business, in July 2004 at the age of 87, he sold his company, entrusting it to a young chemist from outside the family who had dreamed of nothing but such an occasion.
“This was a wonderful encounter,” recounts Jean-Louis Plot, the new owner. “Strong ties quickly developed and I became the spiritual son of this soap-maker emeritus.” Jean-Louis' wife Irène, an art historian, attached herself to the project. “I fell under the charm of the old building and know-how, passed down orally from generation to generation. We kept everything, the name, the employes, custodians of the company soul who have worked here for between 7 and 28 years, the premises and, of course, the continuation of the product that makes for our customer base.”
The couple's only ambition was to develop the line of products, but by working with the original product and its history!
For example, finding new, original forms for the soap, such as sticks, bars, mini-cubes to perfume handkerchiefs, and developing a range of organically certified products. “It was also necessary that we work on our reputation amongst the general public to make the products' quality appreciated and share the history of the soap factory”. Since 2005, the Rampal factory manufactures soaps under the trademark "Rampal Latour".
If customers come from around the world, we also see in the warehouse-shop, which though prettily renovated has remained “as it was”, the loyal connoisseurs who know what they are looking for and the curious asking about the soaps' ingredients, hesitating between different sizes and fragrances, from the classic lavender to the more exotic passion fruit. This venerable place exudes the passion, conviction and demands of the soap-makers who succeeded each other, up to the most recent. A must to discover, like a precious sign of the times.
In 2015, the soap company celebrated its 105 anniversary. Let's wish it many more!
Savonnerie Rampal Latour, soap-makers in Salon de Provence
Traditional production of Marseille soap, Savonnerie Rampal Latour
Traditional Marseille soap, Savonnerie Rampal Latour
Manufacture of the Marseille soap, Savonnerie Rampal Latour
Guided tour of the traditional Rampal Latour soap-making factory
Bars of plain Marseille soap
Marseille soap and its stamp
Marseille vegetal soap, no artificial colouring
Magasin d'Usine Rampal Latour - 71, rue Félix Pyat - 13300 Salon de Provence
+33 (0)4 90 56 07 28http://www.rampal-latour.fr