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Visiting Vallauris, France: a centre for the ceramic industry

Updated on August 29, 2011
Flag of France
Flag of France | Source
Rue Lascaris, Vallauris, France
Rue Lascaris, Vallauris, France | Source
Iris window box by Delphin Massier, Vallauris, France, circa 1900
Iris window box by Delphin Massier, Vallauris, France, circa 1900 | Source
Map location of Grasse arrondissement, France
Map location of Grasse arrondissement, France | Source

A well-established craft in the locality

Vallauris — in the South of France, in Grasse arrondissement in the Alpes-Maritimes department, to be more precise — has for more than a century been a centre for the ceramic industry, particularly for craftspeople with a artistic flair.

Many workshops are well established in the narrow streets of its Downtown area, with a sometimes bewilderingly diverse choice of ceramic wares on display for customer viewing.

Some history

One of the artists who contributed to the reputation of the town was Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) and while he is especially known for his celebrated canvas works, he is also contributed his own unique brand of illustrative techniques to ceramic art. The Picasso Museum, in Vallauris is thus a natural presence in a town dedicated so substantially to ceramic production and art. Picasso himself lived at Vallauris from 1948 until 1955.

Formerly Vallis Aurea , in 1038 the locality passed under the effective influence of the abbots of Lérins. Although archeological excavations locally have revealed the presence of Greek ceramics over 2000 years old, the late nineteenth century saw the arrival and development of Vallauris's ceramic industry. Large-scale production and the transportation of products was assisted by the presence in the district of the railroad.

Among the established ceramic artists to have worked at Vallauris, these have included the Massier family, Jean Derval and Roger Capron, among many others. Indeed, the concentration of potteries in the town have caused it to be known as La ville française de la céramique (The French town for ceramics). Evert two years, an international ceramics festival is held in the town.

Also worth seeing

Antibes (distance: 7.8 kilometres); a highly popular resort with several museums, its imposing, 16th century fort, later strengthened, is a major landmark.

Cannes (distance: 7.7 kilometres); resort well known for its Croisette Promenade, Carlton Hotel, rue d'Antibes quality clothing stores and many other visitor attractions.


How to get there: Delta Airlines flies direct from New York to Nice, France (Aéroport Nice Côte d'Azur ), where car rental is available. The French railroad company SNCF maintains services to nearby Golfe-Juan (distance to Vallauris : 2.6 kilometres) from Downtown Nice. Please be aware that some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. For up to date information, please check with the airline or your travel agent.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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    • MJFenn profile image

      MJFenn 3 years ago

      Alex Adelman: Thank-you for this information.

    • Alex Adelman profile image

      Alex Adelman 3 years ago from Oakland Hills, CA

      In August 2014, it was announced that Madoura, the famous ceramic studio where Picasso worked, was on the brink of falling apart. The local authorities said they'll help restore it, so let's hope it stays in tact for years to come.