The 2020 guide to classic French garden pots, planters, urns & olive jars

When choosing a French garden pot or urn there is much to discover about their provenance and tradition. 
Map of key pottery villages in France

Anduze Urns - timeless, elegant

Antique French garden urns

French garden urns typically are decorated with stylish relief designs of garlands and heads of the gods. They are suitable for classic and formal gardens alike.
Antique French Anduze urn planter terracotta patina
These are originally from the village of Anduze, in the South of France, a village well known for pottery, even today.
French Anduze urn with cyclamen
Traditionally planted with citrus trees (lemon, kumquat and orange) these terracotta planters will add an instant French touch to your garden, terrace, courtyard or entryway.
French Anduze urns with evergreen plants
Anduze urns also look striking planted simply with a well-trimmed topiary boxwood bush.
Anduze urns planted with topiary
It is possible to find antique Anduze urns, and we also sell a range of artisan-made urns. These reproduction urns are handmade to order in the village of Anduze and glazed to the colour of your choice. If you live in an area prone to below freezing temperatures, it is advised that you have a water repellent treatment applied. 
Olive pots green glaze Anduze
Olive jars were also made in Anduze in the Languedoc region of France, inspired by the shape of a Medici urn. Traditionally they are very tall and glazed deep green. Although a very different design they served the same purpose as the olive jars from Biot.

Biot Jars - the French olive jar

Antique French olive jars from Biot

Olives and olive oil were originally transported and stored in large internally-glazed jars known as Biot Jars. Biot is a village in Southeastern France and the name is synonymous with these iconic olive jars.
Antique French olive jars
The glaze on the inside and around the neck of the jar prevented the olives and oil from seeping into the terracotta. To seal the jar, a wooden bouchon (lid) was used - sometimes it is possible to still find the original lids. The terracotta of Biot is a lovely beige colour rather than red, they are also often stamped with the name of the atelier.
18th century Biot olive jars are a more upright shape - resembling the form of an olive, while 19th century olive jars are more bulbous.
Antique French Biot Jar
As these jars were not originally used as garden planters they are often used as decorative pieces indoors - filled with branches, walking sticks or as a cache pot. An antique Biot jar displayed on its own can make a breathtaking statement. They are evocative of the gardens of the Mediterranean.
Biot jars are made with the rope-thrown method. Ropes are wound around a wooden framework then the wet clay is applied to the outside. This leaves a beautiful horizontal pattern on the inside of the jar. Antique olive jars of various sizes can still be found today. We also have a range of artisan-made olive pots that are made to order, also in the French village of Anduze. 

Medici urns - classic beauty

Antique French Medici urns

In French châteaux Medici urns can be found carefully placed around symmetrical gardens, overflowing with flowers or sitting on the top of grand staircases and gateways.
Medici urns can be traced to the 17th century they were beautifully decorated with a gadrooned lip . It is possible to source cast iron urns from the 19th century in an array of sizes and designs.
Pair of Medici urns in french garden
Sometimes with handles and decorated with lion heads or angels, these classic French urns bring a formal touch to any outdoor space. 

Castelnaudary planters - the perennial favourite

Glazed with emerald green, these superb garden planters from Castelnaudary generally date to the 19th century.
Antique French garden planter with green glaze and handles
During the mid-19th century the boulevards of Toulouse were decorated with these planters favored by the Mayor. As they have a drainage hole in the base they can be enjoyed as a planter or simply laissez-faire.
Image credit: Terrres Vernissees by Christine Lahaussois (French book), Chez Pluie Provence
Related Posts:
Anduze urn timeless elegance
Biot jars - traditional olive oil jars of France

The most beautiful French gardens - Dominique Lafourcade

Dominique Lafourcade French gardens


  • Peter Lebopa

    Pure art, pure magic! Pottery is spiritual experience.

  • Sheila

    I am packing my bags to to!

  • Diane

    Lovely, inspiring photos….thank you.

  • ANne

    Love love the urns & pictures. My favourite style for house & garden is French Country. Thank you.

  • Vicki

    Informative and beautiful! Thank you.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published