Narrow streets lined with colourful, Provençal-style houses, boutiques and art galleries, ruins of an ancient pottery kiln… There’s no doubt about it, you are in Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie! As its name suggests, this is a potter’s village, right at the heart of the scrubland. If you are a fan of ceramic art, we highly recommend making a detour via this village while you’re staying in the Pays d’Uzès Pont du Gard destination.
A globally-renowned potter’s village
When you arrive in Saint-Quentin-La-Poterie, you’ll be surprised at the sheer number of ceramicists here. Are you wondering why the village was developed around this trade? The activity was first developed here thanks to the nearby clay pits. Archaeological excavations have revealed that this craftsmanship was practiced here as early as in the 14th century. The development spread way beyond the village, when the Popes of Avignon commissioned a part of the tiles for their palace from the craftsmen of Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie. It was then in the 19th century that the sector really flourished, with the manufacture of clay pipes, among other creations.
This craft has evolved from pottery for domestic use to become an art in its own right. Today, Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie bears the French label “Ville et Métiers d’Art”. There are around forty workshops currently in the village: you can’t miss them while you’re exploring. They open their doors to the public and will welcome you all year round.
But where did the name of the village come from? It is quite rare for a village in the Gard to have taken its name from a martyr of Picardie: Quentin de Vermand. In the 19th century, there were thirty-five “Saint Quentin” in France. Only one of them however, had been a potter for almost seven centuries. The village therefore got its name from this rather original saint.
Visit the museum and the art galleries
And to get the full experience of this artistic activity, there’s nothing better than visiting a museum or art gallery! Come and visit the Musée de la Poterie Méditerranéenne. This museum is inside an ancient 16th-century oil mill and you can learn about the history of ceramics, through the daily lives of Mediterranean civilisations. In this museum, you can admire almost 500 objects from between the 18th and 20th centuries!
The Galerie Terra Viva welcomes exhibitions from resident artists all year round. Here, you can admire sculptures, jewellery and decorative objects, all handmade by these artists themselves.
Enjoy the town and events
Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie is a very lively town! Take advantage of your stroll around the narrow streets to go and meet the craftspeople inside their workshops, they will be delighted to open their doors to you! Each one has their own unique techniques: porcelain, earthenware, sandstone, raku, etc. You are sure to find something you like!
Every year in July, the festival Terralha is held: for the occasion, a selection of European ceramicists is invited to come and present their latest creations. The purpose is for the public to be able to discover ceramic art. At the end of the festival, three prizes are awarded to the best ceramicists. This is an opportunity to see the festive spirit of the town!
Over the Ascension Day weekend, the Festival l’Accordéon Plein Pot, organised by Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie cultural office, proposes a varied selection of concerts with a wide variety of bands.
The Journées Européennes des Métiers d’Art is a very important event in Saint-Quentin-la-Poterie, a village bearing the French “Villes et Métiers d’Art” label! Come and meet the craftspeople in their workshops, watch demonstrations, and you can even choose to take classes!
Every year during the Christmas holidays, the “Tournée du Père Noël” is organised: a tour around the different pottery and arts and crafts workshops in the village. Who knows, you might just find some gift ideas among all the creations!