Since 1902, the history of Bougies la Française has been bound up with the history of families passionate about light and interior décor.
Our expertise has developed down years and has enabled us to become an essential player of the world of candles and household fragrances.
In 1989, the Devineau group bought the company DENIS SA, and the long-standing brand name of BOUGIES LA FRANÇAISE was chosen as the company name, since the name alone symbolised prestigious history of the Company.
With its long experience of candle making, the group was able to combine traditional and modern methods. This was how, under the stimulus of Marc Devineau, one of its directors an innovative designer and indefatigable traveller, that the new spirit of BOUGIES LA FRANÇAISE took shape.
For more than fifteen years now, all the teams have been working to produce candles which awaken your senses, and bring back the pleasure of the forgotten scents deep in your memory, to make you dream and travel in your mind.
The Denis Company was born in 1902 in the rue de la Vallée, Clisson (Loire-Atlantique). This was a well-timed decision in this part of the region, since there were already numerous candle makers in Nantes and surrounding areas. Until after the 1914-1918 war, the business mainly produced candles for religious use.
The origins – The craft of candle making It is important to remember that setting up as a candle maker in a small town with dozens of surrounding villages allowed the craftsman to be as close as possible to the population so that he could provide candles for all the ceremonies such as baptisms, first communions, marriages and funerals, as well as religious festivals with Easter being the high point. (Vatican II -1963/1965- put an end to the practice of many ornamental effects with candles)
1920 Birth of a brand
This period saw the aftermath of the war, and the arrival of a son, Jules Denis (the second one to bear the name).
The company transferred to a former tannery on the banks of the river Sèvre near Nantes, a short distance from the family home.
At this period candles for lighting were manufactured mainly by soap-makers who used the same raw material: tallow.
But it was rare for candle makers who used mainly beeswax to move away from their chosen field of church candles.
The arrival of new materials (stearin and paraffin) and the inspired vision to launch into making candles for lighting led to the formation of the BOUGIES LA FRANCAISE brand. It made the company famous and well-respected well beyond the region.
These candles won many prizes, including a gold medal in Nantes in 1924.
Over and above the problems caused by the second world war, the company was having a difficult time because of a family dispute. However, it continued to grow and prosper. Up to 1961, with about fifty employees, the company was developing and extending its scope into North Africa and the French overseas departments and territories with its famous tropical candles under the brand name Bougies Le Lys De France.
1961 New era
The Company moved and set up on a new site a few miles away in Cugand (Vendée). Time passed with a new generation and the arrival of Jules Denis’s two sons, the grandsons of the founder.
The world of candle makers was turned upside down with the arrival of coloured candles.
In the 1970s, the company sold a small candle shaped like a mandarin orange in the Monoprix shops. It was a complete success. From this time, candles which were coloured, and then perfumed, held a special place in French homes.
Some well known retailers, including the new chain of Habitat shops, became loyal clients of the company.
But the long journey with its many revivals also had its tragedies. In 1978, a terrible fire ravaged the factory site, and from this time the company found it difficult to rebuild its past successes.