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The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Verdon Gorges

Located in the Alpes-de-Haute Provence department, the village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie enjoys an exceptional setting surrounded by the Verdon Gorges, the Sainte-Croix lake and the lavender fields of the Valensole plateau. Moustiers Sainte Marie is one of the most beautiful villages in France and enjoys 300 days of sun a year! The village has been a center of the pottery trade, especially faïence, for centuries.

The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Verdon Gorges, France

The village clings a hundred or so meters up the side of a limestone cliff. A spring flows out of the cliff, creating a waterfall directly in the center of town. At twilight, the sun strikes the south-facing cliff, creating a magical diffuse pink light for a few minutes on clear days.

The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Verdon Gorges, France

Above the village, a star hangs on a 225m long chain suspended between two cliffs. According to a legend by Provençal poet Frédéric Mistral, the knight Bozon de Blacas was held captive by the Saracens in the 10th century and pledged to hang a golden star above his village if he could ever return home safely. The star that shines above Moustiers today is only fifty years old but was painted with gold following an unfortunate fall ten years ago. Worn thin by the wind, the forging had snapped, and the star crashed into the ravine below. A month later, a shining star was once again hung above the village. It is a unique symbol of this village.

The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Verdon Gorges, France

Many artists have chosen to live in Moustiers. You can visit their studios and galleries. A variety of exhibits and events are part of the artistic life in Moustiers. For centuries, the village has been a center of the pottery trade, especially faïence. While ceramic has always played an important role in Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, it is in the XVII century that faïence blossomed thanks to Pierre Clerissy, artisan and possessor of the secret of enamelled crockery. Their quality was so good, that to finance costly foreign wars and fatten the state coffers, Louis XIV requisitioned the kingdom’s silverware and replaced it with fine crockery, including faïence from Moustiers. “The finest production in the kingdom” continued to grow until the early XIX century when it began to slowly decline. In 1927 Marcel Provence rekindled the pottery kilns and the workmanship carries on today thanks to the several artisans living in Moustiers. Even today, you can visit the faïence workshops of Moustiers Sainte-Marie.

The village of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie in the Verdon Gorges, France

For more information about the Verdon Gorges, click on this link:
http://arras-france.com/more-about-the-verdon-gorges-south-east-france/

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