When I first moved to San Diego years ago, one of my favorite places to go was Mistral in Solana Beach. It was a tiny boutique with French soaps, lotions and linens, etc. There was always French music playing and I had fun speaking French with the woman who worked there. Years later, I noticed Mistral soaps everywhere, and I was glad this little business had grown so successful.
What a nice surprise to find the little shop still there on Cedros Avenue.
A close-up of the sign next to the door. There’s another sign just to the left of the door too:
“The little garden.”
Mistral was started by Matthew Tilker, who met an unforgettable seventy-year-old master soap maker while on a stay in Provence in 1993. After studying alternative cancer therapies in Europe on a fellowship, Tilker returned to California where he began importing soaps from Provence and selling them out of his mother’s home. The soaps became popular, and Tilker opened the little shop pictured above.
What I really like about the soaps, besides the wonderful fragrance, is that they’re made with natural ingredients and are non-drying and non-irritating. I have sensitive skin, so this is a must for me. Right now my favorite scent is Tubéreuse Orchidée (Tuberose Orchid) but I also like the Gardenia (see Monday’s post) Jasmine and Milk. (Milk sounds weird, but it’s really nice.)
I didn’t take photos inside the boutique, because it’s a small space and I was the only customer. I did buy a bar of the Tubéreuse Orchidée, though.
Even the bag is pretty. . . .
You can buy the soaps on line here, if you’re interested. I’m not getting paid to say this, I just love their stuff.
Great weekend, everyone!
What a lovely shop and nice products:)
It’a such a great place to go when I’m missing France.
They look beautiful. It’s a great idea for a business and one I’ve been toying with a few times. The Provence region has a lot of great things to offer, soaps and many other things.
I love the fabrics in Provence too.
Really pretty little shop!
Such a nice treat for the soul.
Great way to look at it.
Mistral really has grown up if they now include an online business, Carole.
I’ve seen the soaps in stores all over the country, Cheryl. The web site is really nice too.
Well now I want to go to San Diego and Provence. Looks like a cute place.
In my opinion, Provence is a must-see. Just cross the Channel and take the TGV! 🙂 Allow plenty of time, though–so many beautiful little towns there.
What can I say? I feel like I’m in France when I see these photos. 😉