Biot, France’s artful village

Biot 2 by Serge LarocheBiot is a picturesque village perché, a perched village on the top of a rock buttress in the heart of the French Riviera, between Nice and Cannes.

Originally inhabited by a native Celts, Biot was conquered by Romans 2000 years ago, and occupied for five centuries.
At the beginning of the 13th century it became a base of the Knights Templar, who were soon replaced by the Knights of Malta.

B15 Biot by mksfcaTowards the end of the 14th century Biot was completely destroyed during the war of succession sparkled by the death of Queen Jeanne of Provence. A dark period during which the village became a den of brigands began and lasted until 1470, when King René of Provence invited 50 families from Liguria (now a region of Italy) to settle here.

Biot slowly became an important center of pottery production thanks to the large deposits of good quality clay and kiln stone. Jars made here were exported all over the world reaching also America and India.

The village acquired such a good reputation in pottery-making that many artists subsequently settled in, including Pablo Picasso who here specialized in the art of ceramics.

The introduction of metallic containers slowly made the hand-crafted production move towards glass, with the result that Biot is nowadays world renowned for its colourful glass studios and their production of both artistic and non-artistic glass crafts.

The good quality of the vulcanic ground also made horticulture and grape growing very flourishing.

Biot 10 by SaraThis wonderful medieval village has a lot to offer: the calmness of the silent cobblestone lanes, the vivid colours of the blooming windowsills, the emotion of travelling back in time when walking through the Porte (gate) Des Tines and Porte Des Migraniers, the Spirit of Christmas that comes all year round from the Occitan Nativity scene in St. Magdalene’s Church, the deserved relax at one of the many cafés in Place des Arcades. This rectangular square was the center of the roman Castrum and now hosts the local market every tuesday.

Biot also boasts the presence of a communal oven that was opened at the end of the 1930’s and used up to the middle of the 1980’s. Made with tuff stones from the local quarries, it is now occasionally opened for courses and special events.

The Musée d’Histoire et de Céramique Biotoises (Museum of Biot’s History and Pottery) hosts a collection of jars, interior fountains, vintage dresses, and old photographs as well as the reconstruction of a kitchen of the 19th century.

The finished product by Bex WaltonThe free flyer distributed by the Tourism Office includes a map very useful for locating the Glass Ecomuseum and the many blown glass studios scattered around town, including the Verrerie de Biot, the largest and best known of them, founded in 1956 by Eloi Monod.

A few kilometers from the village centre, the Fernand Léger Museum gathers painting, pottery and drawings of this eclectic artist, who could even be considered a precursor of the Pop Art. The external wall of the museum is almost completely covered by a huge colourful mosaic, originally intended for the Hanover stadium but never realized by the artist.

Right next to this museum a smaller one can be visited: it’s the Museum of Bonsai.

Art abunds in Biot, and this is also noticeable from the many workshops where artisans che be observed while creating unique pieces of glass and pottery, as well as jewels, painting, sculptures and even candles.



Center map

Picture credits:
B15 Biot by mksfca (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Biot 1 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 2 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 3 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 4 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 5 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 6 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 7 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 8 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot 9 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)
Biot by Serge LAROCHE (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Biot by Serge LAROCHE (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Fête médiévale à Biot, France by Alexis (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Grasse and Leger Museum, Biot 035 by David Bramhall (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The finished product by Bex Walton (CC BY 2.0)
Biot 10 by Sara (© Sara Bonetti – All Rights Reserved – Used by permission – Do NOT copy)

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