The Iconic Boy Behind Le Petit Marseillais

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Bonjour! Êtes-vous prêt à partir en France? AW 360 readers, come with us on a whirlwind tour of sunny Provence in southeastern France. Tucked away in this rolling landscape filled with lavender fields and olive groves is a brand of beloved bath and body products called Le Petit Marseillais.

Inside every bottle are sun-kissed ingredients including poppies, white peaches, lavender, honey, and many more sweet, true-to-nature scents. But on the outside of each bottle is the drawing of a little boy in a striped shirt. Even the biggest fans of this body wash may wonder who he is — and today we’re uncovering more about the role he plays within this brand.

Pronounced Leuh Peh-tee Mar-say-yay, our story begins in Marseille’s sunny harbor. Since the 19th century, it has been a Mediterranean paradise where sunlight spills around every corner, touching rich soils where rustic architecture and outdoor markets are based upon. In the early 1980s, Bernard Lengellé found himself exploring one of these markets and becoming quite captivated by the fragrant artisanal soaps he discovered for sale there. He decided he would too begin making and selling soaps of his own and bring the magic of Marseille to the rest of the world.

Lengellé’s soaps were initially made quite simply. Each cube contained a 72% olive oil formula and the ingredients were sourced from olive groves, lavender fields, and citrus orchards.

What kind of design could accompany these humble creations? In the end, it was his son, Cesar, who would become the face of the brand. Lengellé drew an image of Cesar in a striped shirt and a small cap atop his hat. He sat on a marine plot with eyes that looked straight towards the future.

Now, anytime you see a bottle of Le Petit Marseillais body wash, you’ll know more about how the little boy on the packaging came to be the face of the brand. And now that we’ve shown you how it came to be in the South of France, we’re happy to say the body wash has travelled back to the United States with us. Fans of Le Petit Marseillais may now purchase it in a wide variety of sun-kissed scents at nationwide stores like Target and Walmart to capture the inner joie de vivre within.


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