Aromatherapy à la française: Le Petit Marseillais

The luxurious Provence-founded bath and body line, now served at your local Walmart

Let me tell you a story about a body wash that brings me to tears.

It started in Paris a few summers ago, where among other things, I was shopping for liquid hand soap. I spotted an enormous bottle in a pharmacie, which in equally enormous letters, had the words inscribed, Savon de Marseille. Fresh out of a relationship with a Marseillais, I couldn't help but seize that small sign of nostalgia.

I placed the soap by the sink and gave my hands a test-wash. My whole studio soon filled with an unnameable scent; it was the aroma of a summer dream, kissed by flowers. Many of my memories of France are associated with different smells: fresh rotisserie chickens dripping juices onto crispy potatoes, sun-ripened yellow apples at Marché Bastille, fields of vibrant summer flowers. France is a country that is kind to the senses, whose natural resources, when treated by an expert hand, can turn into delectable beauty products.

At the end of my stay, with half a bottle of Savon de Marseille remaining and no more room in my suitcase, I made the difficult decision to leave it behind for some other smell-hungry soul, searching for meaning through scent.

Back in the States, things smell very different. I did have room to bring back a small vial of roll-on lavender oil from Le Château du Bois, which I have been smelling in small doses for the past few years as a momentary reminder of France. But it wasn't enough. It would be too expensive to order more Savon de Marseille from France, and there was nothing in New York that would compare. That is, until recently.

Knowing how much I loved France (and how much I loved body products), my mom surprised me with a package from France. Inside were three ice-pack sized rectangular bottles, and the first thing I noticed was an adorable drawing of a little sailor boy, looking out at a distance. He was Le Petit Marseillais.

I opened one bottle of the Extra Gentle Shower Crème in Orange Blossom and wafted an aroma that instantly brought me back to France. My eyes filled with tears as the pearl-sheened liquid filled my shower with Provence; the sweet and bright fleur d'oranger mixed with notes of jasmine, vanilla, and musk were nothing short of transportive. The crème formed a gentle lather and felt luxurious on my skin, leaving me lightly-scented and in a transformed mood.

Inspired, I jumped onto their website and found out that Le Petit Marseillais was the number one body wash brand in France, founded in Provence in the early 1980s by Frenchman Bernard Lengellé, who was deeply affected by Marseille's roots in artisan soap making. Entranced by ingredients like olives, florals, citrus, and herbs, Lengellé's mission was to bring the scents of Marseille markets to the rest of the world. His business began with his iconic 72% EXTRA PUR cube of soap, and his brand became solidified with a playful drawing of his son Cesar, the namesake behind Le Petit Marseillais. And today, Le Petit Marseillais has a whole line of bath and body products available in the United States! Fellow Francophiles, scent-seekers, and botanists rejoice. Here's a preview of some of my favorite products.

Hydrating Body Milk

The Hydrating Body Milk is light and fresh in Mediterranean Algae and Marine Minerals. I felt like I was alongside a crystal clear beach while treating my skin with this moisturizing miracle. And it's understandable, since "Sea Water" is actually listed as an ingredient! Without stickiness or greasiness, this soft lotion is perfect for an everyday scent refresh. Get it here for $5.99.

Moisturizing Body Balm

This body balm makes me feel like I've just milked a cow, slowly churned the milk into butter under the Provençal sun, and then stuck my hand into that sweet, soft, pillowy richness. There is an inherent warmth to this balm that goes more than surface deep. I put this on right before bed, and found my dreams to be sweetly-scented. My skin felt soft and pampered in the morning, and stayed that way all day. Ingredients like Shea Butter, Aloe, and Beeswax make this tub of love an indulgent pot de crème for the body. Get it here for $7.97.

Nourishing Hand Cream

As someone who can get obsessive about hand washing, I've been on a lifelong search for the perfect hand cream. This cream is much more than just nourishing, but I feel it's taking care of me. With the subtle aroma of Shea Butter, Sweet Almond and Argan Oil, it soothes my hands with its slight coolness. It's a delicate summer embrace to thank the hands that do so much. Get it here for $3.99.

The world is changing, and there are few constants in life. That's why it's essential to take pleasure in the simple things. Le Petit Marseillais is that little reminder that there is still goodness in the world: in flowers, in herbs, in fruits. A beautiful scent can be a catalyst to a beautiful memory. And yes, a simple thing like body wash can induce tears of joy. I can only hope that someone found the rest of my Savon de Marseille and was just as inspired as I was. Even when you can't be in Marseille, Le Petit Marseillais can be with you.

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10 Endangered Animals to Weep Over

Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.


Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.



SPONSORED

Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.