October 7, 2011
La Verrerie de Biot
Whilst there has been masses of literature written about the artistic influences the likes of Monaco, Nice and St Tropez have had, relatively little has been written about the hillside village of Biot, which for centuries has been one of the most pioneering places for the making and manufacturing of pottery and glassware.
Situated four kilometres inland between the cities of Antibes and Nice on the Cote d’Azur, this beautiful medieval village is dominated by one theme – its unique artisan creations. Lining the quirky cobbled streets are row upon row of extraordinarily crafted clay jugs, glassware and other ornately decorated hand-crafted objects.
With its surrounding terrain being rich in manganese, clay and fine sand, for centuries the village of Biot has been producing pottery that has been envied and copied around the world. In the eighteenth century the local artisans of Biot stretched their artistic skills even further and traded their magnificent pottery creations for making objects out of glass.
It was around this time that the talented Biot artists began to sell their exceptional glassware, primarily recognised for its renowned ‘bubbles’ inside of the glass, and began exporting their products from the nearby port of Antibes.
Biot’s exceptional influence on the worldwide art, pottery and glassware stage can be seen not only by the endless amount of pretty, colourful and decorative objects that line its streets, but in three distinctive museums this artistically-inspiring ancient town is home to.
Art and craft enthusiasts can enjoy watching the local glass blowers at work in La Verrerie de Biot. La Verrerie de Biot was given the “Enterprise du Patrimoine Vivant” label, intended to highlight the value Biot’s glassmaking has had on the French economy, the cultural identity of the Cote d’Azur and to promote the artistic renown of the area both nationally and internationally.
Focusing on the history of Biot’s unique artisanal heritage is the Musee d’Histoire et de Ceramique Biotoises. Since it became open to the public in 1981, the Musee d’Histoire et de Ceramique Biotoises has been providing its visitors with insight into Biot’s rich 2000-year history of its pivotal role in the world of arts and crafts.
The Fernand Leger Museum is another artisan epic in Biot. Inside the museum’s walls, visitors can feast their eyes on more than 350 works by the famous French painter, sculpture and filmmaker, who also artistically influenced by Biot’s uncanny creatively inspiring charm.