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Local arts & crafts: know-how made in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

The beautiful natural areas of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur are an endless source of inspiration, moulded and brought to life by our talented artists and craftsmen for generations – and today, they love sharing their passion with visitors. Come on in!

Plant passion

Extract the finest fragrances, capture the prettiest colours

Lavender’s powerful perfume has made it the star of Provence: its sprigs have become the emblems of traditional craft expertise in the Alpilles and, in particular, Les Baux-de-Provence. In days gone by, lavender was used to chase off moths, but today, it decorates our houses and is offered to couples to celebrate their lavender anniversary (46 years)! Let’s stay in the plant world courtesy of Couleur Garance in Lauris, in the Luberon. A holder of the Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional label and official Remarkable Garden, this gorgeous site is named after the Rose Madder (garance in French) that was grown here and brought prosperity to the village until 1900. The natural colourings of its 25 dye plants are now used for dyeing, food, cosmetics and art… Further East, you can enjoy getting to know the edible plants of the Préalpes d’Azur Regional Nature Reserve, such as the saffron grown by Isabelle Weber. If you want to go further, the Jardin d’Aqui illustrated guide teaches you all about local plant species.

Craft trends

Ancient accessories with a modern twist

Émilie Oliver is a felt expert who specializes in tailor-made hats! Set inside Mercantour National Park, La Fée Capeline uses wool from local French and European breeds. From washing to carding and felting, Émilie is a true expert, who loves sharing her know-how through professional training courses. In the Mont-Ventoux Regional Nature Reserve, the Association des Métiers d’Art promotes ancient artisan techniques such as knife making, courtesy of Luca Poutout. Luca uses local woods and even forges how own blades. The association’s chairwoman, Sylvie Clop, is a master of the art of caning using local reeds from the marshes and wickerwork woven in the purest tradition, but revamped with colour. Magnificent!

Woodwork

Creating with natural materials

In Camargue, Cam’Art’Gue offers gorgeous creations by Christophe Maillis made with wood collected from the banks of the Rhône river and beaches. His extraordinary relationship with the natural environment inspires a host of objects ranging from driftwood cabins to paintings on wood. In Queyras, wood from the area’s vast larch forests is used to produce furniture and sculptures, together with acclaimed Queyras toys courtesy of the Alpin Chez Lui cooperative, also a proud holder of the Valeurs Parc Naturel Régional label.

Our adventure winds up in the vast evergreen forests of the Verdon, with a visit to the Wood Turning Museum in Aiguines. This ancient Provencal artisan technique reserves many a surprise, such as the ancient studded wooden boules exhibited alongside more contemporary creations.