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Les Savons du Terroir: Both a Store and a Museum

By gabrielleif 

The Savonnerie du Terroir is much more than what its name suggests. Based in a hundredandsomething-year-old building in the heart of the charming village of Lorrainville, the store holds history, artifacts and ecofriendly products, and it promotes local producers. We take a stroll through the store in a warm atmosphere, finding another product or artifact to discover with every look. 

The building housing the Savonnerie du Terroir was built more than a century ago. 
Photo: Steve Bray 

Nicole Sabater, the place’s coowner, knows its history like the back of her hand. Originally built to be the first legal drinking establishment in Témiscamingue, the building has been transformed over time into apartments, a general store, and a clothing store. Then, in 2011, it became an art supply store, when Mrs. Sabater and her husband, Christian Paquette, bought the place. They took care to keep the place’s rich heritage with a display of many antiques and artifacts received from the public. These include Ferdinand Baril’s wedding picture, in its original frame, which can be found near the entrance. Although some information panels displayed along a hallway tell the story of the place’s different owners over time, Mrs. Sabater wanted to design a museum where visitors could have a complete experience through evocative objects. She says, smiling, “I hate museums where all you can see are posters!” 

The Savonnerie’s premises put forward a number of antiques and archival images. 
Photo: Steve Bray 

Noticing a drop in interest in artistic activity, but a real rise in popularity of bath products, the owners decided about three years ago to partner with Martine Plourde, master soap maker for more than twenty years, in order to dedicate themselves solely to the soap factory project, as there was no such store in the region at that time. Since this transformation, the place offers a wide range of products, constantly improved. Laundry products, cosmetics and a range of baby products have been added to the offering of “grandma's handmade soaps”, which follow the classic soap of yesteryear recipe. As she describes the product offering, Mrs. Sabater stresses the importance given to the use of ecofriendly regional products. “All our products are biodegradable and made, as much as possible, with local products, such as beeswax from Témiscamingue or beer from the Barbe Broue microbrewery. We try, as much as we can, to move toward zero waste through recycled, compostable or reusable containers.” 

“Grandma's handmade soaps” are the Savonnerie’s top sellers.
Photo: Steve Bray 

With an enduring spirit of innovation, Mrs. Sabater and her team regularly develop new products. Last year, vegan candles and Beezou’s range of baby products have been added to the offering. A soap made of local sheep milk, and men products like beard oil are also projects on the table. Mrs. Sabater says, joking, “The products are not tested on animals, but on my kids! My soninlaw has a beautiful big beard, so we’ll see what happens!” 

On our way out of the Savonnerie, pleased with our nice meeting, we feel as if we have discovered a true hidden treasure that should be known by all! 

Savonnerie du Terroir 
10, rue NotreDame Est 
819 6252679 
[email protected]