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Vallauris (Municipality, Alpes-Maritimes, France)


Last modified: 2019-03-16 by ivan sache
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Flag of Vallauris - Image by Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 17 April 2010

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Presentation of Vallauris

The municipality of Vallauris (30,645 inhabitants in 2007; 1,304 ha; municipal website) is located west of Antibes. The historical village of Vallauris is located on a small hill in the hinterland, while the coastal part of the municipal territory is settled by the sea resort of Golfe-Juan, therefore the unofficial name of the place, Vallauris-Golfe-Juan.

The territory of Vallauris was first settled by the Ligurian tribe of Deceati, who built the Encourdoules oppidum (fortified camp) on a hill located north-east of the modern village of Vallauris. The Romans reused the oppidum and developed during the pax romana a small colony out of the fortifications; recent excavations have revealed that the colony was the seat of an administrative division called pagus cantabensis. For a reason yet to be determined, the villagers moved down around 400 from the hill to lower lands, where they set up a new village.
In the 10th century, the resettled place, then known the villa (estate) of Vallis Aurea (Golden Valley), belonged to the Bishop of Antibes. Following a series of donations that ended on 9 December 1038, Vallauris was transferred to the abbey of Lérins, located on a small island off Cannes. The castle's chapel, today the National Museum, dates back to the 13th century and was most probably the chapel of a monastery.
At the end of the 15th century, however, most of the inhabitants of the village had disappeared because of the epidemics and unrest. To maintain the monastery, Dom Raynier Lascaris, Prior of Lérins and lord of Vallauris, granted on 15 April 1501 plots of lands to families from the County of Ventimiglia (of which he was also the lord) and from elsewhere. The prior designed a brand new village, built around a castle (castrum). The number of houses in the village increased from 98 in 1540 to 200 in 1608, 300 in 1698 and 293 in 1765 (1,309 inhabitants).
Agriculture developed in the beginning of the 20th century, when a canal was built to supply the fields with water from river Siagne. Vallauris is today the only place in France where bigarade tree (Citrus aurantiacum L.) is cultivated, mainly for the distillation of orange flower water.
On 27 May 1949, the Hollywoodian actress Rita Hayworth (1918-1987) married in Vallauris Prince Aly Khan (1911-1960).

Vallauris is one of the French capitals of pottery, already mentioned in 1501 in Raynier Lascaris' chart, the Prior keeping for himself all benefits on "earthenware and glassware sold in Vallauris". The relevant technics were probably imported by the Italian colonists attracted by Lascaris. Between 1870 and 1910, the family workshops producing culinary earthenware were transformed in factories, with a commercial organization and exportation of the products via the port of Golfe-Juan and the new railway line.
At the end of the 19th century, Clément Massier (1844-1917; from an old dynasty that stemmed with the "master potter" Pierre Massier [1707-1748]), started artistic pottery and ceramic, with the help of the Italian potter Gaetano Gandolfi; Massier presented his outstanding creations in 1889 at the Paris Universal Exhibition and worked for the aristocrats of the Riviera and the European princely courts. Now extincted, the Massier workshop has been a model for artistic ceramic all over Europe (France, Italy, Britain, Hungary).

Pablo Picasso (1881-1973) lived and worked in Vallauris from 1948 to 1955, producing some 4,000 ceramic pieces, including his famous plates "made to eat in"; he married secretely Jacqueline Roque in 1961 in the town hall of Vallauris. In 1952, he designed the "War and Peace" panels in the former castle's chapel, which was subsequently made a National Museum. He also donated to the town in 1949 the "Man with a Sheep" statue, requiring children being allowed to climb on it.
Picasso attracted several ceramists in Vallauris (Roger Capron, Jean Derval, Robert Picault) and is considered as the father of the Vallauris pottery renewal in the 1950s.
Eugenio Arias (1909-2008) has remained known as "Picasso's barber". The two Spanish Republicans met in 1945 in a meeting of the Partido Comunista de España (PCE - Communist Party of Spain), and, three years later, in Vallauris where they had both settled, Arias as a barber. Arias became Picasso's closest friend, and was offerred several presents by the painter, including ceramic barber's tools. When Picasso died, Arias refused to sell his treasures and rather founded in 1985 a tiny Picasso Museum in his birth town, Buitrago del Lozoya.

The Florentine painter and engraver Alberto Magnelli (1888-1971), whose style progressively evolved from figuration to abstraction, wanted his personal collection of his own works to be kept, untouched, in a town located not too far from Grasse, where he lived from 194 to 1970; his widow Susi donated the collection to the municipality of Vallauris, where the castle had just been restored to become an art museum (Magnelli Museum and Ceramic Museum).
In 1973, the actor Jean Marais (1913-1998) went to Vallauris to learn pottery; two years later, he opened his own gallery, supported by his friends Jo and Nini Pasquali. Every year since 1986, Jean Marais designed the poster for the Pottery Festival. After having spent his last years in Vallauris, Jean Marais was buried in the municipal cemetary.

Golfe-Juan was for long a desert cove (Golfe Jouan) scoured by mosquitos. The place entered history on 1 March 1815 when Napoléon I, "returning" from Elba Island, landed there and started his expedition known as the Cent-Jours. Golfe-Juan is the starting point of the Route Napoléon, inaugurated in 1932, linking Golfe-Juan and Grenoble.
The railway station of Golfe-Juan was inaugurated in 1862. Located halfway of Cannes and Antibes, Golfe-Juan became a noted sea resort. Juliette Adam (aka "The Great French"; 1836-1936), a feminist writer and publisher who managed a famous liberal salon in Paris, built in 1858 on the hillside the villa Les Bruyères, where she invited, among others, George Sand, Léon Gambetta and Adolphe Thiers.


Ivan Sache, 17 April 2010

Flag of Vallauris

The flag of Vallauris, used at least since August 2000, is white with the municipal emblem. The left part of the emblem, a white jar on a red background, symbolizes Vallauris proper, while the right part of the emblem, a yellow sun on a blue background, symbolizes Golfe-Juan.

Olivier Touzeau & Ivan Sache, 17 April 2010

Yacht clubs

Association des Pêcheurs Plaisanciers du Port de Golfe-Juan


Burgee of APPGJ - Image by Ivan Sache, 1 May 2010

The Association des Pêcheurs Plaisanciers du Port de Golfe-Juan (APPGJ) is based in the old port of Golfe-Juan.
The burgee of APPGJ, as observed on 11 November 2008, is vertically divided light blue-yellow with the letters "APP" and "GJ", countercolored.

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2010

Club Nautique de Golfe-Juan

[Flag]   nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; [Burgee]

Flag and burgee of CNGJ - Images by Ivan Sache, 1 May 2010

Club Nautique de Golfe-Juan (CNGJ), based in the old port of Golfe-Juan, was founded in 1946 by the perfumer and distiller Marcel Vian. Divided into two sections, Motor - Fishing and Sailing, CNGJ has today some 150 members.

The flag of CNGJ, as observed on 11 November 2008, is red with a vertical white stripe near the hoist, which isolates a red stripe charged with the white letters "CNGJ", a broader white horizontal stripe and three yellow bees placed diagonally in the upper part of the flag. The three bees recall that Golfe-Juan was the landing place of Napoléon's expedition known as "the return from Elba", these very same three beas on red being shown on different Elba flags from the Napoleonic period.
The burgee of CNGJ is a triangular version of the flag.

Ivan Sache, 1 May 2010