Since the mid-19th century briar root, gathered in the Massif des Maures, has been used to make pipes. This wood is known for its resistance to heat and for the flavours its releases. Of the five workshops which once existed in Cogolin, only Courrieu still carries on this traditional know-how. At this workshop, thought to be one of the oldest in France, the pipes are cut, chiselled, calibrated, sealed, turned and reamed using briar root from the Maures mountains.
The studio welcomes visitors free of charge all year round.
Reading the Visitors’ Book of Cogolin carpet factory will take you around the world in 80 signatures!
This unassuming building with green shutters has produced unique pieces which have gone on to adorn the SS Normandie ocean liner, the Grand Trianon in Versailles, the Whitehouse, the Elysée Palace, many ministries and palaces, foreign embassies, yachts and private jets, villas, and function rooms in luxury hotels.
And work is still carried on here today to the sound of the clattering looms (which date from 1880), and cylinders and “cartoons” are still used by the weavers to produce carpets of the very highest quality, made exclusively by hand and to order. While respecting traditions, the artisans at the factory also work to develop new ranges, taken up by some of the world’s leading interior designers.
Showrooms: 6 Boulevard Louis-Blanc, Cogolin, and 30 Rue des Saints-Pères, Paris, 7th arrondissement.
Cane covers the landscapes of our coastal plains. In addition to the screen provided by cane plants to protect crops close to rivers and water sources, the people of Provence have long known how to turn this raw material to their everyday use (cane fences) and, more recently, in the production of a more artistic accessory: musical reeds.
Several different firms cultivate and fashion cane to produce these little reeds, which produce sound when they vibrate and are used in saxophones or other wind instruments. They are all manufactured using Cogolin reed plants, and 90% are exported, for use by leading musicians in the United States, Japan, Germany and England.
Before experiencing a significant tourist boom from the 1960s onwards, the inhabitants of the Maures made their living essentially from agricultural resources, exploiting the rich assets of their natural environment.
Cork: This is the second most heavily wooded department in France after Landes, thanks to the Massif des Maures, which has an abundance of cork oak. Unfortunately, competition from neighbouring countries and the introduction of plastic corks have largely put paid to this activity.
Narcissus: These flowers grow wild in wet areas around Cogolin, and gathering them was once a source of additional income. They were used for decoration and in perfumes produced in Grasse. Women could collect up to 50 kilos of them, with each kilo bringing in 6 francs. It is said that to earn more money some of them would soak the narcissus plants in water to increase their value.
Brooms: or escoubes in Provençal, were produced by woodcutters from briar branches. They were often used by town halls along the Mediterranean coast.
Other arts and crafts which helped forge Cogolin’s reputation:
– Ornamental ironwork
– Cogolin pottery
– Cane fences and musical reeds
– Glass and mirror making
– Stone cutting