Crafts and discovery of old trades in Tarn-et-Garonne

Grisolles
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Crafts and discovery  ...

Old trades are disappearing or becoming scarce and handicrafts are dwindling, to the point where it is more and more difficult to distinguish the craftsman from the artist ... But these old trades are indeed the memory of our ancestors and preserving them is essential for the preservation of our culture . Fortunately, many enthusiasts are committed to making them last and passing on their techniques and know-how during visits, initiation or workshops .

Tarn-et-Garonne is a country of Gascony . Its rich land has nourished men and animals since the dawn of time. The remains that Palaeolithic men left in Bruniquel reveal to us its very ancient occupation . Over time, the inhabitants have learned the gestures and fashioned the tools adapted to their needs, which have become typical of the region . Customs have been passed down from generation to generation. Today, it is still an agricultural department, where peasant culture is well established. It is a territory which has managed to preserve its old trades , its ancestral traditions and its local craftsmanship . The resulting tourism allows these passionate artisans to share their secrets and perhaps give birth to vocations . We offer you a family trip to discover these forgotten skills , these old machines and mechanisms , to be rediscovered as a family.

Sculpture Saint Antonin Noble Val

Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val, tree sculpture

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The hats of Caussade


In Caussade, we go back in time. The 19th century was the "Golden Age of the hat." And for good reason, since the 17th century and the influence of our Sun King, France is positioned in the global luxury market. The factories set up everywhere in the province. In the 19th century, it was the first fruits of the "ready to wear." Fashion is becoming more accessible and to stand out, it's the accessory that brings the final touch and gives an outfit its unique character! The hat then becomes much more than a headgear ...

Born from the talent of a peasant woman who could not stand the hot south-west sun, the first " paillole ", a woven straw hat, was created in Caussade. It will end up on the heads of Parisian stars! But to find out more, you will have to visit " l'Epopée chapelière " ...

From there, go to the “ Hats block Laforest ” workshop to meet one of the last “ formiers ” in the world . This trade, classified as a “ UNESCO World Heritage ”, consists of carving blocks of lime wood which are used to form hats. You will also have the opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship and precision of another craftsman-artist and perhaps to witness the design of one of the fabric flowers that decorates them.

Two companies still manufacture these hats: “ Crambes ” in Caussade and “ Coustillères ” in Septfonds. " Crambes " offer guided tours to understand the manufacturing process , specific machines and discover the hat-making trades . Finally, the “ Willy's Paris ” boutique is a hat-making institution, where you can admire these magnificent creations . You will find many models there, from the most classic and traditional to the most extravagant ...

All practical information is available on the Caussade town hall website.

Chapelière epic of Caussade

Poster of L'Epopée chapelière, Musée de Caussade; Source: Facebook of the Chapelière Epic, Caussade Museum

The brooms of Grisolles


In Grisolles, we enter a French capital… What am I saying European… It's that of the broom! This is another job in the 19th century. It was in 1856 that the " Grisolles broom " was manufactured, seeking to improve the bundle of tied sorghum straw which is used to clean houses ... No need to bend down, a wooden handle stands at the heart of the sheaf . Wire securely attaches the assembly. Now the broom is an effective and lasting tool.

To better understand this know-how , a visit to the Calbet museum is a must. It presents popular traditions and a collection of tools and materials from the daily life of yesteryear. In his reconstructed workshop , you will meet one of the last “ broomsticks ”, witness to this once prosperous industry .

Brooms of Grisolles
The Calbet museum and Sorghum's brooms Charele and Didier Descouens CC BY SA 4.0

The faience of Auvillar


Halfway between Bordeaux and Thiviers, Auvillar was well placed to develop earthenware crafts . The lead oxide enamel from Bordeaux and the decorative enamels from Thiviers were combined with the clay from Auvillar and the sand from Marsac, to give birth to the hands of potters , a solid and original earthenware . With a peak in the 18th and early 19th century, the demand for pottery declines fast enough and the last furnaces are extinguished in 1905.

They still make collectors happy today. You can admire them at the museum of old Auvillar , where a specialist in earthenware offers entertainment and guided tours . It also hosts the museum of shipping . If you are interested in ceramics , do not miss our report on the visit of the ceramic center of Giroussens .

Auvillar

Photo: Auvillar

Around the vineyard


Tarn-et-Garonne is a very old wine region . The Gramont vine and wine museum has a fine collection of rare and old tools . You will also discover the trades of distiller and cooper , but also winegrower traditions.

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Eco-museums: old ways of life, old tools and popular traditions


Far from the pomp and pomp of beautiful residences or castle life, the ecomuseums reveal to us the secrets of the daily life of the inhabitants of a region. It is a good way to rediscover the memory of peasants and workers, to recognize the practices of our grandparents or of our more distant ancestors, to imagine the actions of these trades of yesteryear . They have a familiar side which is endearing because you enter the intimacy of " locals " ...

  • The Finhan museum presents tools, classified by trade , everyday objects and agricultural machinery from the 19 th and 20 th century.
  • In Verfeil, the museum " Aux tools d'antan " specializes in agricultural tools .
  • In Donzac, the former trades conservatory reconstructs a village of craftsmen , a class from 1920 and old shops .
  • In Caylus , is the ecomuseum of the Gorges de l'Aveyron .
  • In Montauban, the toy museum reveals an impressive collection of toys from the past . Noble material, ancient know-how, tradition…, here is a great opportunity to raise a part of the history of a little- known craftsmanship . A unique place to make you dream, imagine ... and see the eyes of young and old children widen! All the practical information about access and visits are here .

CaylusCaylus

Walk the alleys of Caylus

Verfeil
Inscription on photo of Eugène Trutat: "June 10, 1899 on the road to Verfeil cart and dogs pl. Green Jougla; Public domain

When craftsmanship comes back to life ...


Saint-Antonin-Noble-Val is a renowned artisan village . In summer, the shops are spread out in its beautiful alleys and the village becomes a " real open-air art gallery ". Craftsmen will share their passion during the many workshops of soap, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics , ...

Lavender from Quercy was very famous and production was prosperous. It almost died out, but thanks to enthusiasts, it is reborn today in the Ferme de Lacontal . You can visit the distillery and discover the many products made from essential oils and hydrosols .

Lacontal

Photo: Ferme de Lacontal

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Did you like our article? Find more on our Blog . Follow us on the Tarn Aveyron Guide Facebook page and on Instagram @guidedutarnaveyron.

Article written by Stéphanie Tempier for the Guide du Tarn Aveyron.


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