Best Place to Find Soaps That Smell Like the French Countryside

La Lavande

For those who believe bathing requires a good deal more than a quick scrub with a bar of Ivory, La Lavande is a necessity. Inside this tiny slice of a shop, tucked along a walkway of the Walnut Creek mall, are row upon row of delicate, pungent, creamy bars of soap. Most are unwrapped — which makes it easier to pick them up and sniff to find enticing scents. Citron is a favorite, but there are bars infused with honey, almond, lavender, and so on. The best part comes at the end when the salespeople wrap each individual bar in a cellophane bag nestled in a bed of rose petals and lavender flowers. The shop also sells beautiful baskets, topiaries (definition for men: little shaped trees) of lavender and ivy, and tiny jewelry from pressed flowers. Boyfriends, husbands, brothers, and male buddies can bide their time at the Starbucks across the street.

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