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Last month I had the wonderful experience of visiting La Grée Des Landes in La Gacilly with Yves Rocher. Read below for details of this beautiful place!
Last month I had the pleasure of experiencing Yves Rocher, one of my favourite beauty and skincare brands, first hand in the town where the brand originated – La Gacilly, France. For those of you who follow me on Instagram you will have already seen some of my favourite shots from the trip, but packed into this post are some of the highlights from the trip including our stay at the Yves Rocher Éco-Hôtel and Spa, La Grée Des Landes, visiting the Yves Rocher processing facility and botanical garden, and wandering the lovely village of La Gacilly.
So first, let’s talk about the Yves Rocher Éco-Hôtel and Spa – La Grée Des Landes, shall we?! The hotel is nestled into the side of a hill at the end of a long and narrow winding road. The land offers some seriously beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. The hotel was opened in 2009, the year that Mr. Yves Rocher passed away, by his grandson and current CEO, Bris Rocher. However, La Grée Des Landes was a dream for Yves Rocher for many years.
Yves Rocher believed that beauty came from more than just a cream on the face – it is about a comfortable environment, good food, and an immersion in nature. Once you have these things, which provide you comfort above all, then you can feel your most beautiful self and that is the intention of the Éco-Hôtel and Spa. La Grée Des Landes is definitely all about that slooooow life and it is the perfect place to relax and appreciate nature, plants, and animals (especially the insects and bees in the garden!).
La Grée Des Landes was designed to leave no negative impact on the environment. A survey of the land conducted after the hotel was built even showed that animal and plant populations in the area have increased since the site was built. Learning about this aspect of the site was so interesting to me. It was a place I would have studied in school while doing landscape architecture, yet here I was experiencing the site due to a totally different reason! The building was constructed using largely locally sourced materials from La Gacilly and features a large green roof, rainwater harvesting, wood stoves that burn only wood that has fallen naturally, a vegetable garden that hosts a ‘hotel for insects’ and birdhouses spread out all over the site.
It was evident here at La Grée Des Landes in La Gacilly that the commitment that the Yves Rocher company has to the environment goes far beyond just their beauty and skin care products.
The restaurant at La Grée Des Landes made delicious meals that change daily based on the garden offerings. The goal of the restaurant is to be 3 things: locally sourced, organic, and gourmet – a difficult task but successfully executed here, no doubt!
Of course, what would the Éco Hôtel and Spa be without the Spa!? There is a beautiful spa facility on site complete with 2 pools (1 of which is pictured below), a eucalyptus steam room, and a full workout facility.
As you can imagine, I was right in my zone here! The vegetable gardens out back were packed with incredible fruits and vegetables that they use everyday in the restaurant on site.
The processing facility where the sorting and drying of botanicals for the Yves Rocher products is located in La Gacilly. On this site, in addition to the processing facilities, is a public botanical garden. Grown here are samples of many of the botanicals used in the Yves Rocher products. Did you know that Yves Rocher owns over 250 farms around the world? The botanicals that go into the beauty products come from far and wide, but with Yves Rocher owning everything down to the farms, it allows them to be in total control of quality and keep final product costs low.
Yves Rocher grew up right in the village of La Gacilly. We visited his childhood home and went to ‘the attic’ where he created his very first product based on a recipe shared with him by a woman in town. He took the concept of this botanical recipe and created his first cream. He then put an ad for his cream in a Paris newspaper which truly kick-started the brand. Before long this small town was getting hundreds of mail-in orders a day. Yves Rocher quickly began to employ many people from the surrounding area to meet demands. It is no wonder that La Gacilly is known to this day as the ‘Yves Rocher Town’.
Above on the left is the original funnel used to put the cream into the tubes. On the right are written letters from customers, encouraged by Yves Rocher, leaving feedback on the products. You can see Yves Rocher’s notes to himself jotted on each letter as to how he could improve and address the issues. This, my Friends, was the original product review!
Finally, the town of La Gacilly. Sigh. To say that this place was SO in line with everything I love aesthetically would be 100% accurate.
We were lucky to be in town during the La Gacilly Photo Festival – an annual festival where larger than life photographs are on display on the sides of the buildings and all along the streets. This is such a unique cultural undertaking for a small village. And, do I even need to say it? The festival was created by Jacques Rocher – the current president of the Yves Rocher Foundation. The intention of the festival is to encourage the viewer to think about the future of the planet, whether the photos depict nature, animals, or civilizations.
Friends, thank you for reading! I hope that you enjoyed learning the history of the Yves Rocher Brand just as I enjoyed learning it. Today I focused on their story but I have shared about my favourite products in a few blog posts as well (here, here, here), so please check those out!
Narrow plant covered streets that lead to nowhere in particular. That’s my kind of place. Thank you Yves Rocher for the opportunity to experience the brand in its historic birthplace – La Gacilly.
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