Traditional chocolates and nut sweets. Chocolate chef since 1906, DE MARLIEU is the adress for all chocolate lovers and those curious about chocolate fabrication and about having a better understanding of its tastes. Free individual visits : see timetable on the website. Groups on request.
The Marlieu chocolate factory was born in 1906 in the Chartreuse.
At the end of the XIXth century, its founder, Amédée Arnaud des Essarts, bought a farm in the Marlieu hamlet near La Tour du Pin, and set himself there with his family (and also for the health of his daughters, to whom the doctors said they needed fresh air).
Innovative businessman of its time, he decides to produce milk and sell it in bottles to the Lyon hospitals. Summer like winter, he would go by horse carriage to La Tour du Pin train station, and carry his glass bottles in small wicker baskets to Lyon.
Developping his sale in Lyon in some grocery stores, he then starts making and selling butter from his milk, and creates the "Marlieu Butter". Then, from the resting cream, he gets the ideia to make chocolate candies he would sell in his grocery stores.
He summons 3 Swiss chocolate makers in Marlieu,and starts in 1906, with the local producers' help, the very first « Marlieu chocolates ».
Between the two wars,he decides to make more, with « bâtons goûters » (ancestors of the malakoff) for the boarding schools (1926), and a chocolate powder.
In 1939, he dies. The factory is bequeathed to his son-in-law Edmond de Parscau, marine officer who left the Bretagne to marry a dauphinoise and the factory. The society is one of the first in France to put pictures/drawings on the chocolate bars.
At the time and until the 50's, the factory sold its products in small shops in its area.
It is with the development of the mass distribution in the 60's, that the factory turns toward the markets companies (EC, business gifts, Christmas tree) and local authorities.
In the same time, the factory developped its sales to particulars, and since 1997, the door-to-door sale. Its independent sellers are now more than 200. Finally, the Chocolate Factory has established partnerships with schools throughout France for the sale of Christmas and Easter chocolates.
Marlieu's factory hires 15 people permanently. During high season, it can reach 80 people. Fidelity is strong, as some of them are descendants of the founders themselves.
In April 2010, the factory moved to Chimilin, 17km far from the original one.
Services & facilieties
- Car park
- Coach parking
- Coach access
- Guided tours
- Online shop
From 03/01 to 30/12/2022, every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Closed exceptionally on Easter Monday, Feast of the Ascension, Whit Monday, May 1st, May 8th, July 14th, August 15th, November 1st, November 11th and December 25th.
9-12 am & 2-5 pm. Exceptional openning on saturdays before Easter & Christmas 9-12 am & 2-5 pm. Closed from mid july to mid august.
Free of charge. Groups from 15 to 60 people.
Mode of payment
- Bank/credit card
Children from 6 years old.
Maximum number of people : 50