Behind every façade is a story. And sometimes you stumble across such a beautiful one, like the history of lemonade maker Maison Aubert in Pézenas. Hidden behind Hôtel d’Alfonce in historical Pézenas, Jules Aubert founded a successful lemonade factory in the late 19th century. And more than a century later, his great-great-great-grandson David Flipo continues this success story.
Recently, I spent a shopping day in lovely Pézenas. Since several people had told me about the wonderful lemonades from Maison Aubert, I decided to take a look for myself. When David Flipo welcomed me into the boutique, he asked if I would be interested in a little tour. Of course! And so I entered the fascinating history of a lemonade making family, which unexpectedly unfolded behind the doors of Hôtel d’Alfonce. This grand mansion, with its striking covered exterior gallery in Italian renaissance style and natural well, is drenched in history. Even the famous French playwriter and actor Molière performed in this mansion with his ‘Illustre Théâtre’.
The history of La Maison Aubert started in Lodève in 1876 when Jules Aubert decided to launch himself into the making of lemonade. After spending a couple of years of fine-tuning his recipe, he also discovered the best way to conserve his soft drinks. Gasification of beverages was essential in those days. In 1882, Jules Aubert moved his business to the impressive hôtel d’Alfonce, a so-called hôtel particulier, in Pézenas. And this is where descendants of the family Aubert still live to this day. Maison Aubert remained a family enterprise until Jean Aubert’s retirement in 1993. However, as fate would have it, his grandchild David Flipo launched himself into a new adventure by reviving the family business in 2019. He started a production laboratory and boutique in the exact same spot, following in Jules Aubert’s footsteps.
When buying a soft drink from Maison Aubert, you will get an artisanal product made with organic ingredients that embodies six generations of a family business. Jules Aubert had already won numerous prizes for his refreshments by the end of the 19th century. Today, his great-great-great-grandson David creates his own range of lemonades including classics as well as more modern variations. Like, for example, the surprising ‘Limonade Mandarine’ flavoured with natural extracts of lemon, tangerine, orange and lime. Or what about the sparkling herbal tea of ‘Thé Pétillant’ with Rooibos and natural extracts of various citrus fruits. I did a little lemonade tasting at home, and the kids all prefered the original lemonade with lemon and the ice tea with lime. What a great find!