Red cassis and grapes pack a powerful punch. Not just in flavourful wines and liqueurs, but also in innovative cosmetic products. From the fabled Grand Cru vineyards to the flower-filled meadows of the Alp, French spas are leading the pack in developing new therapies based on local ingredients. Here are a few of our favourites.
Born in the Bordeaux vineyards in 1995, Caudalíe was the first beauty line to harness the antioxidant power of grape seeds. (Chateau Smith Haut Lafitte set the scene for the experiment.) “Vinotherapy” was born at the brand’s spa resort, Les Sources de Caudalie, in 1999, and it’s since been exported to some of the swankiest hotels around the world– like the Hotel Les Ottomans in Istanbul, the Plaza New York, and the Shangri-La Hotel in Toronto. Signature treatments include the Wine Barrel Bath, Crushed Cabernet Scrub, and grape-seed oil massage. The beauty products have amassed a cult following; Parisians can now get their Caudalie fix at the brand’s first stand-alone store in the French capital, opened this fall in the Marais district.
Another cutting-edge example is Sibuet Hotels, which created its Pure Altitude line from indigenous plants high in the Alps. The white edelweiss flower, for example, is nutrient-rich because of the self-defense molecules which help it survive in a harsh mountain environment. Pure Altitude products combine locally-harvested edelweiss with extracts of over 50 mountain plants, like arnica and dandelion, to boost antioxidant and anti-ageing effects. Guests at Sibuet Hotels across France can discover the Pure Altitude line. The brand’s first spa at Les Fermes de Marie in Megève is a destination in itself… decorated in a rustic-chic style with natural elements like cut tree branches.
And in Burgundy in autumn 2012, a well-known doctor and health expert unveiled a new spa concept called “Fruititherapy.” The cosmetics line reaps the health benefits of fruits like red currant, raspberries, and grapes. The spa itself is housed in the Cueillette Château de Cîteaux, a new five-star hotel located on the site of the first vineyard given to the Cistercian monks (in 1098!). The chateau’s 11th century vaulted cellar makes for a fine setting for wine tastings, and the contemporary guest rooms have all the creature comforts. Inside the spa, the swimming pool overlooks the charming village of Meursault (the views are framed by walls of glass).