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Provenance: Bastide Aix en Provence

This is a real coup for The Hambledon. Let us introduce you to the latest, and very beautiful incarnation of this classic French bath, beauty and fragrance brand.

Shop Bastide ►

How We Found Bastide

Well, this feels like something of a homecoming. Not long after we first opened (20 years ago since you ask) we started to sell a beautiful Southern French bath and fragrance brand called Cote Bastide. It was much loved and much missed when it disappeared from view. Cut to 2019: a chance conversation with Victoria's hairdresser, the brilliant Kerry, about her holiday plans in Aix; a happy morning scouring Printemps in Paris, killing time between trade shows; and a lovely photo piece in our latest issue of Provence Weekend Journal and we felt the stars were aligned and it was time to revisit this Provencal brand.

Bastide Skincare Products
Bastide Aix en Provence

Who are Bastide?

In 1996 French celebrity hairdresser Frederic Fekkai (his clients include Cameron Diaz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Martha Stewart), a native Aixois (someone born in Aix en Provence, you noodle) worked with the original Cote Bastide (also native Aixois) on a limited edition collection of candles and beauty creams. In 2016 Cote Bastide's fortunes were turning and Fekkai and his wife, Shirin, acquired the business from the founding family and set about creating a brand which honoured a few key principles: their products are all made in France, specifically Provence; they are clean formulas, using no parabens, sulfates, animal testing; packaging is in recylable glass and paper, not plastic. And to mark the new era the name was shortened to Bastide.

Frederic Fekkai of Bastide

What even is a Bastide?

Not to be confused with the other bastide(a fortified town in South West France), this bastide is a local term for a Provencal manor house. A bastide is a larger and more elegant relative of the classic Provencal farmhouse called a mas. It is square or rectangular with a tile roof, made of stone (although sometimes finished with stucco) and often build around a courtyard. The Fekkais themselves live in a particularly fine example, after which we are all lusting.

Frederic Fekkai and family at their bastide

What are the Fragrances?

 

We have chosen four key fragrances: Neroli Lumiere, Ambre Maquis, Rose Olivier and Figue d'Ete in which you will find fragrance, body wash and hand soap. Neroli Lumiere, a recurrent image for Cezanne, uses the blossom of the bitter orange (which is harvested early in the morning to capture the most fragrance from the flower). Rose Olivier, taken from the name given to an olive tree with a rose bush entwined in its branches, mixes the aromas of these two and evokes this part of Southern France. Figue d'Ete: this is the sweetness of a green fig on a warm Summer's day. Booking a holiday right now!

Bastide Lemons
The exquisite summer light filters in through the window of the bastide, where a
young artist paints the juicy citrus she plucked in the garden

Neroli Lumiere

Rose Olivier

Bastide Roses
In the shadowy depths of the bastide’s garden, an enchanting romance blooms
between two unlikely partners: the charming rose finds herself inexplicably
drawn to the spirited presence of the olive tree
Bastide Figs
A handwritten note slipped under the door of a secluded bastide;
an invitation to enjoy a sultry afternoon underneath the fig trees

Figue Amour

Bastide Figue D'Ete Hand Cream

Ambre Maquis

Bastide Amber
The party on the terrace of the bastide is slowly winding down in the early
hours of the morning. Two guests are not ready to leave just yet

How is Bastide Made?

Bastide are keen to work with specialists in their fields.

The Soaps: A chemist by training, Beatrix is the liquid soap expert. Using a traditional technique of 'saponification' and fewer than 10 ingredients, including olive and coco oils, this is a formulation which is gentle on the skin and fully biodegradable.

The Candles: Based in the Provence town of Carnoux, Guildhem's expertise is candlemaking. From the wax and the wick to the chemistry of the fragrance oils to the subtleties of the packaging.

The Fragrance: Matthieu is the 'nose'. Originally from Grasse, the home of French perfume, and now based in New York, Matthieu has fragrance in his blood.His grandparents farmed and produced plants specifically for perfume. His role is to create scents which evoke both an historic Provence and a modern sensibility.

Bastide Figue D'Ete Hand Wash
The Bastide Store in Provence
Bastide Aix en Provence

What Shall I Have?

This is the very trickiest question. It is a beautifully edited range and it is all very lovely. And you can't find it in many places (Liberty and The Hambledon are the only two bricks and mortar stores). Nothing not to like.