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