Matières, objets et manufactures d'Europe

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Matières, objets et manufactures du continent européen.

Matières, objets et manufactures du continent européen.

Matières, objets et manufactures du continent européen.

Matières, objets et manufactures du continent européen.

La Maison de Commerce

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T001 FRA17

Territory: Excursions France / Aveyron, Côte d'Opale, Cévennes
Date: February 2017
Meteorology: Winter sun, fog
Transport: Train, car


The ravines of Ségala. Sika deer. The smell of the undergrowth. The large clover shaped loaves of bread. The market of Villefranche-de-Rouergue. That of Sauveterre-de-Rouergue. 

We stopped off in Cordes-sur-Ciel, where we wanted to inform ourselves on the Pastel flower. A delicate and precious flower from which one draws the blue pigment which was used since the 12th century to dye seigneurial clothes.



Calais, we caught the radio waves from England. The town has lots of stories to tell. We hardly dare ask any questions so as not to stir it up too much. It might shed a tear.

We stay in a small workers house between caps Blanc Nez and Gris Nez. Victor Hugo would have said this landscape was the most beautiful in the world. Between the countryside and the sea, facing the cliffs, overlooking the long sandy beaches, with a north wind head on and grazing cows, almost certainly amongst the happiest in the world. We sail along the coast, in both directions, several times a day. Delighted.

One morning, on the beach of Escalles, 3 men and a tractor remove an abandoned piano. One evening, we catch the lights of the maritime police sweeping the coastline.

We smell the oil from Noyon Lace machines. On that very day, the family hands over its business to a quartet of large international textile groups.

We adventure into the quarries of the Vallée Heureuse.
We saw tens of thousands of plaster moulds in Desvres and the neglected remains of a large production of faience.
We ate waffles in Wissan, chips in Audinghen and couldn’t say no to a ‘Picon biere’.



We spent two days at the little bergerie that Pierre and Maia Paulin have converted on the majestic hights of the Cévennes. For the first few hours, a think fog prevented us from understanding the landscape. It finally gave way to an extraordinary, powerful and soothing view. We browse Art and Design books, listen to a beautiful story of life, investigate the production of silk, wait for the bread from the village to come out of the ovens, discover the love and jealousy with which the cévénols protect their heritage. A path of know-how is drawn. The economic stakes are real. The rural exodus has emptied the region. But it remains strong.