Bell Foundry and Copper Workshop, Villedieu les Poeles

Villedieu les Poeles – 27th October 2011

A select group of us gathered outside the impressive iron gates of the bell foundry in Villedieu les Poeles.  Our English speaking guide was a charming and informative young man who managed to make the tour both interesting and humourous.  The level of skill and craftsmanship involved in the art of creating a bell is truly impressive.  The foundry is one of only 2 in France, and had only just recently shipped a bell weighing an immense 2.6 tonnes to Beirut cathedral.  Most of their work involves bells of somewhat lesser dimensions though!  It certainly is well worth a visit for those of you who have not yet been.

We then meandered through one of the lovely, picturesque back streets of the town and up to the Copper Workshop (Atelier du Cuivre), one of the oldest workshops in Villedieu still in existence.  We were met by our guide, Sarah (one of the proprietors) who guided us through the various stages of making a pan, showing us the traditional methods and the more modern techniques used side by side, from the formation of the basic shape of the pan, lining the inside, adding the handle, through to the final finishing and polishing

As well as creating pots and pans, they will make any sculpture requested in copper, or pewter and they also restore and repair old copper pots and pans – no matter what their condition!

Sarah was very enthusiastic about her subject and convinced us all of  the virtues of copper and as we left, I think we were all considering saving up to buy a set of copper pots and pans!

All in all, a very enjoyable afternoon.