November 15th, 2007 – by: sissanoel
A big Biot jar, in place in front of a house, where it has probably been for a couple of hundred years.
Unfortunately Day 5 brought heavy rain in the morning, but as this was the only wet day, we couldn't complain too much. We caught the bus to Antibes but found that almost everything we wanted to see was closed - including markets, the Musee Picasso and a couple of galleries. The down side of travelling to this area in November, is that this is the month when places close for their annual holiday, if they are going to. Also take the tourist info staff with a pinch of salt - the chap on the desk told us there was various markets open (they weren't) and did not mention when we asked about it, that the Picasso Museum is closed until June 2008 for renovations! We enjoyed ourselves, though, wandering through the Provencal Market (foodstuffs of the area) and along the coastal wall through the old town and back to the bus depot.
By chance, we discovered the No 10 bus which took us directly up to Biot (we were told by the tourist info that we would have to get a different bus to the Biot train station and then catch the No 10 from there - luck was on our side, thank goodness. We had the best meal of our stay at a restaurant in the centre of Biot before a quick visit to the Museum of History and Ceramics - Biot is famous for producing large earthenware pots, called Biot Jars, but is now becoming known for glassworks as well. We followed the excellent "historical tour" map collected from the excellent girls at the excellent tourist info (!) and discovered that Biot has been occupied since pre-historic times and many Roman monuments and inscriptions can still be seen today. The Knights Templar were owners of the village at one time, as well as their rivals the Hospitallers of St John of Jerusalem (the Malta Knights).
An array of Biot jars in the town museum (plus a few pieces from the modern sculpture exhibition on at the time).
Templar and Hospitaller symbols can be found dotted around the town, along with Greek, Roman and medieval inscriptions - you just need to keep your eyes open and you'll spot them (of course, the historical sites map also helps!). In keeping with the area, we bought a small ceramic plaque for our house as sourvenir of this beautiful, artistic little town. Unfortunately, the Fernand Leger National Museum (which can be found down the road near the old workshops of the Roland Brice ceramic studio, Brice being a faithful pupil of Leger) were also closed for November so didn't get to see the works on display here. We did stop in at the glass factory of Vererie Biot before heading home, but difficult to transport glass products when you're travelloing! You can watch the glass blowers at work in the studio - amazing that they work in shorts and thongs, considering the red hot product they are dealing with!
View down a little alley in Biot.