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Régions du monde > Provence Cote d'Azur > Biot, arts and technologies
Biot, arts and technologies
Published by EF041008 on 2009/3/20
 Biot, arts and technologies

Biot is a perched village dating from 154 B.C..In 1209, the Count of Provence, lord of the lands around Biot, donated them to the Knights of the Temple. When the Order of the Temple was suppressed, these lands were restored to the Hospitalers.

Biot is the town of the art glass makers as well as the city of Sophia Antipolis, a major technopole.

Weather forecast in Biot

Biot, a community in the Alpes-Maritimes region, is a perched village dating from 154 B.C. The Romans, battling against the Ligurians, settled on the actual site of the old village. The Romans occupied the location for five centuries.
In 1209, the Count of Provence, lord of the lands around Biot, donated them to the Knights of the Temple. The Knights received seigniorial rights over the Roman camp at Biot, and they went on to buy numerous plots around the village, thereby uniting the territory.

When the Order of the Temple was suppressed, these lands were restored to the Hospitallers of Saint-Jean of Jérusalem and to the Bishop of Grasse. The cobblestones of the Petite Place in Biot represent two Crosses of Malta. 


The end of the Middle Ages was a somber and troubled period in Provence. There was plague in 1348 and Queen Joan’s war of succession. It was during these tormented times that Biot was destroyed in 1387, and it remained a mere ruin for almost a century.

In 1470, King René decided to repopulate the town of Biot. He accorded the right to move into the territory to about fifty families from Imperia. In order to accomplish this, the King freed them from any tax obligations for nearly 25 years. They began to engage in pottery production.

From the 16th century on, the earthenware jar industry developed. Entirely shaped by hand and formed with the aid of two spatulas (one flat, called the “eteco” and the other curved, called the “escaïre”), the interior of these jars was hand-varnished with the aid of a brush made of women’s hair, attached to the end of a reed. The vessels were then sold in Provence and exported to the Americas and to the Indies.


The construction of the church dates from the 15th century. It was completed in the 16th century. It is one of the few French churches where one must descend to reach the nave. The church houses a magnificent altarpiece by Louis Bréa, master craftsman of the Niçois Primitives School. This industry started to decline in the beginning of the 20th century, and the town of Biot turned its efforts to its vineyards. Alongside the vines, a glass industry and arts and crafts constituted a vector of real economic growth.

Artists moved to Biot, contributing to its renown. Fernand Léger settled there, working with Roland Brice in the medium of ceramics. In 1955, shortly before his death, Léger bought the Saint-André du Val de Pôme farm. Here, in the artist’s last residence, the Fernand Léger National Museum is located. 

In 1970, the Sophia Antipolis Activity Park was created as Europe’s first “Technopole.” It encompasses a large part of the territory of Biot. The town is the location of the National Institute of Research in Agronomy (INRA), the National Institute for Research in Computing and Automation (INRIA), the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) as well as the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis.

These latest arrivals contribute greatly to the growth of Biot and to the considerable development of its periphery.

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