Every village in Provence has a shop that sells locally made pottery. But if you’d like to know more about how they are made and the origins of the shapes and colours, there are 3 manufacturers worth visiting.
Cliousclat, located near Valence, has been producing pottery since the 10th century and they seem to have an unlimited supply of clay. The workshop, which has retained a truly authentic flavour, is fully functional and can be visited. The store itself is simply Ali Baba’s cave. Have a look at the website. www.poteriedecliou.com
In nearby Aubagne there are two other pottery manufacturers well worth a visit. Ravel has been making their signature clay pots* found in many gardens since 1837. This family run business is open for a 40 minute guided tour of the workshop every Thursday morning. www.poterie-ravel.com
While in Aubagne you have to stop in to Barbotine to meet Philippe Beltrando whose workshop is an integral part of the shop itself. He continues to make some of the traditional functional Provençal pieces that where designed well before people had running water, air conditioning or ice cubes. www.barbotine.fr
*these are known as jarre in French. They are either all natural clay or enamelled at the rim.