The Clarins cosmetics group has acquired 115 hectares between Générac and Saint-Gilles

The Clarins cosmetics group has acquired 115 hectares between Générac and Saint-Gilles

115 hectares acquis par le groupe Clarins au domaine Sainte-Colombe. DR – DR

The cosmetics group intends to cultivate different species and also wishes to set up an open-air laboratory on plant behavior. On site, the mayors are delighted with this installation.

The French cosmetics group Clarins, one of the sector's locomotives (1.75 billion euros turnover in 2022), announced that it had acquired "a vast natural area of ​​115 hectares of vegetation located in the communes of Saint-Gilles and Générac".< /p>

The memory of the Générac fires


According to the press release issued by the group,  "this estate, with its 50 hectares of cultivable land, is intended to become a place of production and exploitation of plants according to the standards of regenerative agriculture as well as a laboratory for the study and research of new species. (…)"

This Gard acquisition is located exactly at the Sainte-Colombe estate, acquired in 2009 by Jean-Claude Mirabel, who organized receptions there, high-end accommodation in fashion "slow tourism". Part of the estate was affected by the very large Générac fire in 2019, then by a second, in 2022.

The Clarins group contacted Safer (land development and rural establishment company), which offered to acquire the Sainte-Colombe estate, for sale.  

With the first cultivation planned for autumn 2024, nearly 50 species of trees and plants will ultimately be cultivated there. Prickly pears, quince trees, almond trees, apricot trees, lavender, lemon thyme, blueberries and many others (the choice has not been definitively made) should ultimately constitute one of the main sources of ;supply of quality and organic raw materials used in the composition of Clarins formulas.

"The objective is that 30% of our sourcing comes from this location"


This investment is considered major for the Clarins company: "In 2016, we acquired an estate in the Alps near Annecy (the & nbsp;Domaine de Serraval, 5 ha, Editor’s note). We were keen to vary our plant sourcing in terms of origins to find other benefits on the skin. We needed another type of soil, biodiversity and we wanted it to be in the context of a Mediterranean climate, explains Marie-Hélène Lair, spokesperson and innovation director at Clarins. The goal is for 30% of our sourcing to come from this location." Beyond that, Clarins wants this Gard estate to constitute a "open-air laboratory, where we study the behavior of plants, their adaptation mechanism". Existing buildings should be preserved, particularly for reception objectives and educational visits.

Eddy Valadier, mayor of the town of Saint-Gilles, where a large part of the agricultural land as well as the farmhouse buildings are located, is delighted with a choice that honors us. Clarins is an international company with 8,000 employees. That they choose Saint-Gilles to develop is a very beautiful thing. And they will preserve the heritage. I remind you that this area includes a Middle Ages chapel listed in the inventory of historic monuments since 1949." Satisfaction is identical in Générac on the side of mayor Frédéric Touzellier who, like the mayor of Saint-Gilles, met the management of Clarins: "We were committed to improving the procedure for their installation. Clarins is a brand image. We will get closer to them to convey positive communication. This is very good news…"

Jean-Claude Mirabel: “A very beautiful project”

What pushed you to put the Sainte-Colombe estate up for sale ?

A conjunction of several factors. It's certain that since the fires, something was broken. It was difficult to leave. But there are other things. Today, I am 61 years old, I am still young enough to undertake things and at the same time I am old enough to retire. And then, there is this Clarins project, which is a very beautiful project…

How were you put in contact ?

They were the ones who contacted Safer, who offered them the domain. They bought everything, the building and the agricultural land, which will be preserved. I never felt like I owned these places. The Romans settled there a long time ago. It is a valley blessed by the Gods. That there is new momentum, with a sensitivity to environmental protection, is great news. Without thinking that there is real radiation. 

Has vegetation resumed in the burned areas ?

It's not quite the same vegetation, but there are oaks, green oaks, arbus trees, poplars. It's off to a good start and I know that Clarins is going to invest in these lands. For them, it is an important strategic project. 

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