France: Knowing what’s good

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The lifestyle in France is often referred to as “savoir-vivre.” But France has even more to offer besides fine cuisine, exquisite fashion, and great art. Evonik’s operations in France are similarly multifaceted. They range from innovations in the field of healthcare to the production of natural skin products, developments for the petroleum industry, and more sustainable solutions for future-oriented sectors



The Château de Sacy nestles within an idyllic landscape. The guests of this five-star hotel can look out of any one of its windows and gaze at lush vineyards that spread themselves evenly across the hills of this province. Long before the Champagne region became famous for its sparkling wine, it was a center of textile production in the 16th and 17th centuries. Today it produces 300 million bottles of Champagne annually, about half of which are enjoyed by the French themselves.

The Biscuiterie de Montmartre in Paris entices customers with colorful macarons and other delicacies artfully arranged in its display window. Macarons, which are close relatives of meringues and petits fours, were reputedly served as early as the 17th century at the court of King Louis XIV. These sweet pastries are still extremely popular today. Creating this combination of a delicately crisp shell with a soft center and a perfectly matching filling is known to be a difficult art to master. Silicone baking molds made with Aerosil® from Evonik ensure that these tiny almond meringue pastries always turn out flawless.

The Tour de France is the world’s most famous and most challenging bicycle race. The route is slightly different every year, but it always runs through picturesque landscapes and locations such as Aix-en-Provence (photograph). In order to withstand the physical stress, the cyclists must be supplied with energy along the entire route, which is more than 3,000 kilometers long as a rule. For example, before the race begins they make sure to consume carbohydrates as energy providers, and during the race the professionals receive isotonic beverages that offset the body’s loss of minerals. Evonik provides support by means of Rexiva®, which supplies important amino acids for sport nutrition and dietary supplements.

From prêt-à-porter to haute couture: Twice a year, the maisons of the world of fashion present their latest designs on the catwalks of Paris Fashion Week. An overall look includes not only the clothes but also the appropriate hair styling and makeup. Cosmetic products made in France are held in high esteem all over the world. In 2022 about two thirds of French cosmetic products were exported and brought in sales of almost ₤20 billion. In Cosmetic Valley, which spreads across the Centre-Val de Loire, Normandie, and Île-de-France regions, Evonik’s Advanced Botanicals product line develops a special kind of cosmetic products. A resource-conserving biotechnological process is used to produce high-performance plant-based active ingredients for cosmetics.

As in a treasure chamber, hundreds of bottles of Armand de Brignac are stored in the cellars of the originally family-owned Cattier company in Chigny-les-Roses. Today the US rapper Jay-Z and the LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton group are the joint owners of this brand of Champagne. The luxurious image of this sparkling wine is due to features that include its elaborate and strongly regulated production process. In the course of this process, the winemakers also use nitrogen to preserve the wine and prevent unwanted oxidation. Sepuran® N2 membranes from Evonik can separate nitrogen from the ambient air and make it usable; as a result, winemakers are independent of gas suppliers.

Blue skies, pure air, and breathtaking nature: The French Alps attract hikers and athletes to the mountains during every season of the year. Mont Blanc, whose height of 4,810 meters makes it the highest peak in Europe, is especially popular. For an outing in the mountains, most people rely not only on sturdy hiking boots but also on clothing that is as breathable and water-resistant as possible. Synthetic fibers based on petroleum are still often used in order to obtain these characteristics today. Vestamid® Terra from Evonik offers a sustainable alternative, thanks to bio-based artificial fibers made of castor oil. The outdoor outfitter Vaude has already used these fibers successfully in trekking pants and other products.

Patients used to share beds in this building, but today the former hospital rooms serve as the suites of a luxury hotel. The Grand Hôtel-Dieu (“God’s refuge”) on the shore of the Rhône River in Lyon used to be a hospital where paupers were taken in and cared for free of charge. According to historians, sick people were treated here as early as the 12th century. The field of medicine has repeatedly faced unexpected challenges in the past, and it is still doing so today. That was recently demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. An Evonik location in the town of Ham in northern France produces plant-based amino acids by fermentation that are used for treating diseases including long Covid. The knowledge gained in the process could also enable progress in the struggle against cancer.


Evonik is represented in France by four production locations in the areas of healthcare, personal care, and specialty industries and a sales department. The growth division Nutrition & Care receives products from the company’s biggest as well as its smallest location in France. In Ham, about 242 people work to produce ultrapure amino acids for the Health Care business line, and in the Centre-Val de Loire region seven employees develop advanced botanicals for the Personal Care unit. The other two locations specialize in smart materials and specialty additives.

Evonik locations:
1 Ham
2 Lauterbourg
3 Roussillon
4 Parçay-Meslay



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photos: Martin/Le Figaro Magazine/ laif, Getty Images (4), Getty Images/Cavan Images RF, IMAGO/Zoonar


14th July 2023


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