The Journey of Côté Bastide, 25 Years in the Making
In Provence, a “Bastide” is defined as a country house where loved ones gather – a home surrounded by fragrant gardens and sun-drenched terraces. “Côté” means near-by, related-to, or around. In 1991, Nicole Houques created her “Côté Bastide” as a branded collection of lifestyle products based in Aix-en-Provence, where the brand caught the attention of Frederic Fekkai, another Aixois (a native of Aix).In 1996, Frederic chose to collaborate with Côté Bastide on a successful limited-edition collection that spanned from candles to creams, under his eponymous luxury hair care brand, sold in prestigious retailers in the US. Two decades after the collaboration, Frédéric and his wife, Shirin von Wulffen, still found themselves filling their own bastide home in Aix with Côté Bastide products. They soon learned that the business was in need of some help and new energy.
The Côté Bastide boutique in Aix-en-Provence
"We were sad to hear the business needed help, because we really believe the world needed a brand like this. I had spent my career immersed in beauty, fashion, luxury - learning from the best in the industry - from red carpets to runways. But really,” Frederic admits,
at this point in my life, I want to live simply and with intention, to make something I believe in for the next generation, with significance and meaning.
“He has loved this brand for so long,” Shirin knew that this could be an opportunity to realize their dream, “and we had been talking about making a line of products we could use as a family, on ourselves and our children, that we could also recommend with confidence to our friends and families.”
A page from Frédéric's personal notebook from 1996, during his first collaboration with Côté Bastide.
Compelled by his vision to preserve and celebrate an artisanal and authentic Aix-en-Provence, paired with Shirin’s desire to create good-for-you products safe for the family, the couple acquired the business from the founding family to carry on its legacy.
Inspired by this intangible allure of Provence, Frederic and Shirin, along with a small team (hi from all four of us!), have spent over a year creating, selecting, and perfecting the new Bastide – a shorter name, cleaner formulas, and a lot of love. Our line embodies beauty by nature: using tried-and-true formulas that look more like family recipes rather than commercially derived in a chemical lab.
We are staying true to what matters most to us:
- Authentic origin – everything is made in France, specifically Provence.
- A pleasure for the senses –because bien sûr, it’s the south of France – it must smell good, feel good, and be good for you, like a delicious piece of dark chocolate.
- Clean for the family – did we mention that Phillip & Cecilia, the two youngest Fekkai children, are helping the rest of our team test the products too? We are committed to be made 100% made with artisanship, using 0% of these toxic and irritating chemicals – see our blacklist.
- Artisanally made – taking a page from the French markets – where your bread is from the boulangerie and meat from across the square at the specialty butcher shop – every product is made by a subject-matter-expert. In our case, these makers have generations of expertise in their area of work – be it solid soap, oils, candles, or lotions.
- A celebration of the terroir – learning from farmers who know how to cultivate the best from nature – taking into account the beautiful light, scents, and water – to harvest sustainable ingredients, native to Provence, potent for natural beauty.
- Respectful of the environment – packaged in recyclable glass, using paper, not plastic, and collaborating with l’Observatoire Francais d’Apidologie (OFA). We love using honey in our products, and bees are critical for our planet’s food supply. In partnership, OFA will train 30,000 bee-keepers and build 10 million new bee hives in France by 2026.
We kept a lot of the Côté Bastide favorites that many (including us) love. The iconic Fleurs d’Oranger scent can be found in our Fleur d'Oranger hand cream, our bath salts, and our bath oil. The cult-favorite potpourri ambre crystals are back, as our Ambre d’Or scented potpourri crystals bring a beautiful sight and delicious scent to homes. If there’s something you absolutely loved from Côté Bastide that you would love to see again, please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a DM on @BastideOfficial. We’d love to make help make your day!
Meet the new Bastide collection here. We hope you will fall in love with it, as we did.
With love from all of us,