Guardians of Provençal 'savoir-faire', many Arles craftsmen devote themselves to manufacturing objects using traditional methods or to design. They express themselves using multiple techniques and a wide variety of materials: wood, fabrics, earth...
Wood : from the 13th century, many cities in Provence began to produce an utilitarian kind of furniture: cupboards and bread baskets made out of walnut, a wood-type which became fashionable in the 16th century. All different in terms of shape and ironwork. Furniture developed over the 17th and 18th centuries adopting more artistic designs.
Fabrics : known as "indiennes", he Provençal cotton fabrics that seduced the whole world with their bright colours, are a tradition imported from the East Indies in the 18th century. You can discover the secrets of these prints at Souleiado's, Olivado's or at the'Indiennes' of Nîmes.
Through his haute-couture collections, Christian Lacroix, born in Arles, became an ambassador for the sensuality and the richness of these Provençal fabrics.
Earth : the exceptional quality of the clay found in Provence enabled craftsmen to produce all kinds of objects. You will find the designs of various local ceramists on display in many of the city's shops.
Santons : The "santons" of Provence, originally made out of clay, are used in Christmas nativity scenes. The name comes from the Provençal word 'santoun', meaning 'little saint'. Many shops sell the products of Provençal masters 'santonniers'.
Every year, from mid-November to in mid-January, the international santonnier fair takes place in the prestigious setting of the Arles St Trophime Monastery. The fair displays the work of Provençal master santonniers and the designs of nativity-scene enthusiasts and international artists.