Discover the rich tradition of craftsmanship in la Manche when visiting artisans’ workshops.
Villedieu-les-Poêles and the art of bellfounding
The copper and pewter workshops, the copperware museum and the bell foundry all celebrate the savoir-faire of the “art and crafts town” of Villedieu-les-Poêles.
Bells for churches, public buildings, and ships around the world are still made in Villedieu today.
In 2012 the foundry Cornillle Havard of Villedieu-les-Poêles casted 9 new bells for Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. For its 850th anniversary, the cathedral of Paris replaced the bells of its North tower. The company Cornille Havard in Villedieu-les-Poêles was responsible for their design and casting. The new bells were blessed on the cathedral square and have been sounded in Paris since March 2013.
Another town, another tradition...
Pottery in Ger date back to the early 15th Century, when the town was an important regional centre for stoneware. This activity then flourished in the early 19th century and died down a century later with the appearance of new materials. Today the regional museum of pottery of Ger retraces a flourishing past through a collection of 3000 pottery and the restoration of buildings and furnaces-tunnels of the site of Placître.
The Regional Natural Park of the Cotentin Marshland is also a traditional centre for pottery.
"L'Atelier Terre et Feu" and "Au Grés du Temps" open the doors of their workshops to visitors.
The area, drawing from its natural resources, also counts a basket weaving workshop. Using a 400 year old technique, Lehodey Vanibois manufacture wicker baskets and furniture by hand. Visit the museum and basket weaving workshop which offers a display of over 200 models of baskets.
Traditional fairs in la Manche :
- The “Sainte-Croix” Fair in Lessay, a thousand year old fair, the most important in la Manche.
- The “Saint-Martin” Fair in Saint-Hilaire du Harcouêt is the second most important in the Department.
- The “Saint-Luc” Fair in Gavray was organised for the first time under the reign of Henri II Plantagenêt
- The “Saint-Denis” Fair in Brix
La Manche is also known around the world thanks to 2 famous knitwear companies :
Les Tricots Saint-James
With the prestigious French award “entreprise du patrimoine vivant”, Saint-James has perpetuated the traditional making of the famous seaman’s sweater and Marinière since 1889. Located near Mont Saint-Michel, the workshops are open to visits, enabling you to discover the trade secrets of the world famous striped sweater.
La Tricoterie du Val de Saire
Established in the Cotentin Peninsula, this family company has manufactured high-quality clothes since 1979, and is celebrated by the greatest designers!
Hand painted ceramic is still produced nowadays in la Manche, namely at the workshop “Faïencerie de la Baie du Mont-Saint-Michel”. Created in 1953, the workshop specialises in the decoration of unique pieces. Many manufacturing steps and different methods are needed to provide such high quality products.