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Savon d'Alep and Orientale Treats

Savon d'Alep was the first hard soap in the world and is justifiably famous. Made with no artificial additives and chemicals, just pure olive oil and sweet bay oil, it dates back thousands of years and is made in Aleppo in Syria.   

Savon de Marseille is a mere youngster in comparison dating from the 15th century and was a copy-cat version of Savon d'Alep.

For the best buy, head for one of Ménilmontant's orientale grocery shops, and pick up a supply for 2 euros a handsome sized block.

Alternatively, available in the Bio (organic) market on Raspail each Sundays at 6 euros, or at Natures et Decouvertes in the Carrousel du Louvre for 6.95..... for exactly the same size!

While you're in the 'hood,' grab a tub of Maghrebi black soap and some kassa gloves for your next trip to the hamman or your do-it-yourself gommage a la maison.  Worth seeking out for massage moments is the highly-prized argan oil (made from the nuts of a rare Moroccan heat-resistant tree).

Ménilmontant and the area around the Metros Couronnes on the Boulevard de la Villette are great places to explore.  In the plentiful grocery shops you can also find tea from Egypt, Algeria and Morocco, a multitude of grains and pulses, selections of spicy olives, (deli-style but cheaper and spicier) and herbs and spices such as the renowned Ras-al-Hanout, (which means top-of-the-shop) the marvellous Moroccan 27 spice blend which lends it's flavour to their most famous dishes.

If you head in the direction of the rue St Maur, it's not too far, make sure to stop in a La Bague de Kenza to indulge in some sticky pâtisserie orientale on the way home.

N.B. In French "Orientale" is the word given to things derived from the Near and Middle East and North Africa (the latter is also known as the Maghreb).

Bonapart Paris apartments


Thanks for the info on Alep.

Today, par hasard, I saw the soap also in a boutique "Les Tresors de la Medina" on boulevard Montparnasse. I probably wouldn't have even noticed the soap were it not for your post.

Enjoy! soaping yourself Polly.

you can get more info from

While in PAris some time ago my daughter bought a bar of this wonderful Savon d"Alep olive oil soap for me. I love it and would love to purchase more, if you can give me info as to where I can purchase it without having to make a trip to PAris.

There seem to be various places to order it online but I don't know any special one I can recommend, the stores I've written about in this article certainly don't have websites!

Dear sir,
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