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Why stop in Biot? Glass. Bubble glass at La Verrerie de Biot

Bubbles from Biot acrylic glassware (J. Chung)

If you’re travelling from Nice to Antibes on the Côte d’Azur why stop in Biot? Glass. The glass products at La Verrerie de Biot are famous and beautiful and so is the fortified medieval town where I’d recommend you visit for lunch.  What makes this glass blowing enterprise different is that it specializes in creating bubble glass products: vases, drinking glasses, plates, bowls, carafes sculptures, and more. And they are made in beautiful, bright colours.

History of La Verrerie de Biot

Biot, France (J. Chung)

In 1956 Éloi Monod created the unique tradition of glassblowing with a twist—-he had a technique where bicarbonate was sprinkled between two layers of glass and when it evaporated, carbon dioxide bubbles appeared. The bubbles formed unique patterns in the glass and this became the signature design of the Biot glass.

Éloi opened up a workshop and then a store, La Verrerie de Biot. In 1974, the Lechaczynski family took over the business. Today you can find many other galleries in the town selling their unique bubble products—-glasses, bowls, carafes, jugs, etc. 

La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)
La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)

The company was awarded the prestigious “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” (living Heritage Enterprise) label which recognizes such qualities as having exceptional know-how and mastery of traditional or highly technical techniques.

Nice To Antibes With A Stopover In Biot

On my way to Antibes, I got off at the Biot/Antibes station and decided to walk (2.7 km) straight to La Verrerie de Biot. I could have taken a bus but it was lovely out (early March) and I do like to walk. It only took me 30 minutes. The factory/showroom is located in the valley below the medieval section of town which is on the hilltop above. I began my visit at the glassblowing studio (free admission).

Glassblowing Studio And Gallery

Glassblowing-studio-La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)
Glassblowing-studio-La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)
Glassblower at work-La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)

You can watch the master glassblowers (souffleurs de verre) at work in the glassblowing studio. Workshops are given and they even have the opportunity for you to try glassblowing yourself. Guided visits are at scheduled times and in off-season (when I visited) they only had one tour. In high season they likely have more. 

Showroom

Showroom at La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)
Biot Glass at La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)

There is also a large showroom and shop packed with decorative items such as vases, as well as jugs, pitchers, bowls, and glasses in various sizes and shapes all with the “Biot” bubbles and signature.

Because I had very little room in my suitcase, I just bought a small carafe and two acrylic bubble glasses. Those Biot glass tumblers don’t even look like plastic. They are part of their “Ligne Piscine” line-a new swimming pool line described as: 

“Colorée comme la vie, légère comme l’eau et slide comme amitié” 

(Colourful like life, light as water and solid as friendship). 

Carafe and acrylic glasses-La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)

Everything was very well packaged and they can ship to your home. As might be expected with such unique items, the prices are not cheap. The glass carafe or little pitcher (“petit broc”) was 34.5 € and the acrylic glasses were 9 € each for a total of 52.5 €. 

L’Art Contemporain du Verre

Across the courtyard is the L’Art Contemporain du Verre (Contemporary Glass Art) a gallery displaying the artwork of over 35 artists. Photographs are not permitted.

Medieval Town Of Biot

Medieval town of Biot (J. Chung)

The medieval, hilltop village of Biot is actually located high above La Verrerie. The Romans inhabited the town of Biot beginning in 154 BC and there are still remains of their existence throughout the old town. They occupied the town for over 5 centuries. 

Throughout its history, Biot has been invaded by and occupied by various factions, including pirates and The Knights Templar. For centuries thereafter, it was known for its pottery and ceramics but in the 20th century, glassblowing took over. Biot is also known for the Musée National Fernand Léger as painter Fernand Léger, who is known for cubism, lived here.

Today, the medieval section of Biot has cobblestone streets and a fair number of stores (many glass and arts related) and restaurants. There are still remains today of monuments and archways from the medieval period so the town still retains its medieval charm.

Biot: Lunch at Les Acacias

Les Acacias, Biot (J. Chung)
Les Acacias, Biot (J. Chung)

I had a lovely outdoor lunch at “Les Acacias” after my visit to La Verrerie. Before the meal I was served tapenade. I had a glass of rosé wine and the Plat du Jour-fish in a cream sauce with French beans and saffron rice. Dessert was Tarte au Citron Meringue. The service was friendly and the entire meal was delicious and reasonably priced (23 €).

If you’re heading from Nice to Antibes or in the Nice-Cannes, French Riviera area, do consider making a stop in Biot. It makes for an easy stopover and you’ll likely buy some of the world famous, colourful products at the shop. 

Directions: Nice to Biot

By Car

  • Nice to Biot (20 kilometres, 26 minutes)
  • Autoroute A8 west to D6007; follow the signs for Aix-en-Provence/Antibes/Villeneuve-Loubet; Avenue du Dr Julien Lefebve, Avenue de Vaugrenier, Chemin des Cabots, and Chemin des Combes

By Train

  • Nice to Gare SNCF de Biot (also known as the Biot/Antibes train station) 
  • Cost: 6.8 € (return)
  • Duration: 22 minutes

Directions: Biot/Antibes train station to La Verrerie de Boit 

Walk
  • Walk along Route de Biot/D4 and then Chemin des Combes
  • Distance: 2.7 kilometres
  • Duration: 36 minutes
Bus
  • Bus number #10 bus north on D4 towards Valbonne Village—get off at the “Biot 3000” stop, which is just past Chemin des Combes. It’s a short walk up north on Chemin des Combes toward La Verrerie de Biot. [Be sure to check the schedule to be sure how frequently the bus is running].
  • Duration: 7 minutes

Directions: La Verrerie to Medieval Biot 

The route is 800 metres uphill: walk along Chemin des Combes to Chemin des Bachettes, Calade du Cimetière, and then Rue Saint-Sebastien which takes you into the centre of town.

La Verrerie de Biot

WINTER

  • Daily : from 9:30 am to 6:00 pm non stop
  • Sundays and public holidays : from 10:30-1:30 pm and 2:30-6:00 pm
  • Closed December 25, January 1, and January 15-27

SUMMER

  • Daily : from 9:30 am to 8:00 pm non stop
  • Sundays and public holidays : from 10:30-1:30 pm and 2:30-7:30 pm

Address: 5 Chemin des Combes, 06410 Biot, France

Les Acacias Restaurant

Address: 5 Rue Saint-Sébastien, 06410 Biot, France

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Biot Glass-La Verrerie de Biot (J. Chung)

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