Maison Bernardaud is a pottery that has been part of the Limoges porcelain tradition since 1863. In case you didn’t know, Limoges is super famous for it’s beautiful porcelain pottery. Now, a pottery isn’t exactly the best place to take three small children…the proverbial bull in the china shop would have nothing on my bunch. So, doing a visit whilst on a kid-free night away seemed perfect. A bit of googling later and we found the Bernardaud pottery, which said it offered tours and a factory shop. Their website wasn’t brilliantly clear on details (as we were looking in the wrong part of the website to be fair) so we just decided to rock up at opening time.
We were welcomed in the gift shop and offered a tour in French or English for 6 Euros. We were shown around by a young woman, who was taking the tours as part time work while she studied at business college. Her English was perfect as was her knowledge of the factory and pottery process.
The factory itself has now been moved to a newer site using more modern techniques in Oradour-Sur-Glâne but the old pottery has been kept as it was, to show people their methods and to provide a wonderful gallery space. Our guide showed us the different processes used to form porcelain items, the ways they are decorated and lots of examples of finished items.
There is also an area dedicated to showing you where the Bernardaud tableware is used around the world. We recognized the china used at the afternoon tea in Claridges, London! Another section shows collaborations with contemporary artists, including Jeff Koons and Olivier Gagnère.
Finally the tour entry also includes access to their annual exhibition. This year’s being Céramiques Gourmandes, showing amazing works of clay and porcelain with a food theme. The art was really special and a great way to finish the tour. The factory shop is usually open and the items inside are obviously of really high quality. Heading off on our travel year means we had no space or money for purchases, but seeing the work involved definitely made us appreciate why the prices are on the steep side! We thought the tour was great value and a fab visit for even those without a particular interest in pottery.
Maison Bernardaud: https://www.bernardaud.com/en-gb/gb
Visit information: https://www.bernardaud.com/en-gb/gb/news/exposition-ceramiques-gourmandes
Limoges Tourist Information: http://www.limoges-tourisme.com