But these small soap manufacturers were closed down by Brussels.
He told me the technical reasons for the closures but my French wasn't fully up to grasping them.
But it occurred to me how absurd it is that an organisation set up to represent a Continent of 750 million people should occupy itself with closing down small soap manufacturers.
Forging trade deals with China, standing up to Yankee commercial imperialism, co-ordinating the scientific research of a major region - all are the remit of the highly educated, highly paid Brussels Eurocracy.
But closing down small family soap-makers is absolutely not.
This is mission creep - the busy-body interference of the petty pen-pusher.
C'mon you Brussels guys, get a sense of proportion.