Amid the pretty, colourful alleyways and flowery, sun-drenched balconies, Vallauris possesses a treasure unequalled in France: the pottery know-how it has been keeping alive for centuries. Since Gallo-Roman times, pottery has been centre stage in Vallauris in the form of culinary ceramics. Saucepans pans, pots and jugs have raised Vallauris' profile in the eyes of the world, thanks in particular to the material's resistance to high temperatures. The arrival of Picasso in the 1950s raised Vallauris to the rank of ceramic capital of France, as he brought in many artists wanting to learn about the fired arts. Picasso himself, as well as Chagall and Miró, created a wide range of models ushering in a new era for ceramics.
Today, only a handful of craftspeople still uphold this tradition. Their creations can be seen in the shops and galleries of Vallauris in the form of artworks or everyday objects such as vases, plates, glasses, bowls, cups... All these pieces are handmade by dedicated master ceramists.
A visit to the Museum of Ceramics is also a good idea, in order to admire developments in pottery through the ages. This castle-museum is a majestic Provençal fortified house rebuilt in the 16th century and flanked by two imposing corner towers. On the first floor you can observe ceramics in all its forms, from culinary objects to metal chandeliers and other contemporary creations by Picasso, Picault, Derval; all artists who contributed to the glory of this renowned material. The Museum of Pottery also tells the story of this craft, spanning over a century of history within a vast space of 200 m². Works by Picasso and some wax replicas made by the Grévin Museum are highlights of a visit there.