In the garden of Villa Perrusson, ÉcuissesVilla Perrusson@lesleywilliamson
©In the garden of Villa Perrusson, Écuisses|Lesley Williamson

Ceramic Valley

Relive the golden age of ceramics in Burgundy

Nestled between the Dheune and Bourbince valleys, the Vallée de la Céramique offers a beautiful interlude along the Canal du Centre.

In addition to the thrilling industrial adventure of metallurgy and mining at Creusot Montceau, you’ll discover the fascinating history of ceramics, which for a long time was the region’s third-largest industrial sector.

The industrial era of ceramics

Surprising architectural surprises

At the beginning of the 20th century, some forty factories dedicated to working with terracotta set up shop in the Vallée de la Céramique. Artisan workshops, potteries and tile factories were in full swing: stoneware tiles and containers, earthenware decorations, pottery, tiles, bricks and ceramics in all their forms were mass-produced here.

The large tile factories in Montchanin, Chagny and Écuisses, the tile factory in Paray-le-Monial, and the stoneware potteries in Digoin, Palinges and Pouilloux flourished between 1870 and 1920.

Challenged by competition from new materials from 1940 onwards, the ceramics industry declined and collapsed in the region.

Numerous remnants of the epic of this local industry remain today in some fifteen communes along the Canal du Centre. Strolling through the villages, you can admire the many houses with facades decorated with ceramics and multicolored earthenware, testifying to the activity of yesteryear.