This article will introduce you to the following types of pots:
Chez Pluie is located in Provence and strives as much as possible always to have a complete range of French pots available for domestic and international online purchase. Special, unique, playful, enchanting, many of the pieces also are preloved so you can rest assured they are an eco-friendly consumer choice. To order directly from France, browse Chez Pluie's full collection of French planters. Or, first, read on to find out more about their history and what makes them so special.
1) Anduze Urns - timeless, elegant
Anduze urns can be antique, vintage, or made new. They are classical in style with a bell shape and are named after Anduze, a commune in the Gard department of southern France, close to Uzès and Alès. Handcrafted using a centuries-old technique, this is pottery at its finest. Anduze garden urns are decorated with distinctive classical reliefs depicting garlands and the faces of ancient gods.
Anduze urns come in a variety of distinctive colors. Through Chez Pluie it is possible to find antique or vintage Anduze urns, or to order an artisan-made pot glazed in your preferred color. The bespoke bespoke Anduze urn pictured above has a natural antique finish, and can be made to order through Chez Pluie.Anduze urns and olive jars glazed in beautiful honey, green, and flame. These are examples of some of the colors of the glazing that can be applied to Anduze urns. They can all be ordered online through Chez Pluie.
Water repellant treatment for Anduze urns
If you live in an area where temperatures fall to below freezing, Chez Pluie can make sure a water repellant treatment is applied to your urn prior to sending - please request this when you submit an order.
Biot-style jars made in Anduze
Above is a Biot-style jar made in Anduze and currently available for purchase online at Chez Pluie. These jars are custom made by artisans in Anduze.
2. Biot Jars - the French olive jar
Biot jars are elegantly and bulbously-shaped, earthenware vessels that are glazed only on the interior and around the neck. Since the Middle Ages (at least) the Provençale village, Biot, in southeastern France has been making these pots. There is a unique quality to the terra-cotta from the region around Biot. Many of these jars are still displayed indoors today, but have taken on more modern usages: likely filled with branches, walking sticks, or used as a cachepot, rather than the traditional use of storing olives or oil. Antique Biot jars can simply be decorative objects too as they look beautiful without ornamentation. Either way, they evoke a quintessential Mediterranean feel.
Above is a magnificent, old, weathered Biot jar that was handcrafted in the 19th century. It is available at the moment for purchase online at Chez Pluie.
Contemporary Biot-style jars made in Anduze
As mentioned above in the Anduze urn section of this article, it is possible to acquire new Biot-style urns, as well. Chez Pluie has a range of artisan-made olive jars made to order from Anduze. Above is an example of one of the glazing possibilities.
For more detail on Biot Jars see "The Biot Jar - an ancient French tradition".
3. Medici urns - Classic beauty
Medici urns are named after a famous marble decorated with bas-reliefs made in Athens in the first century BC. Lost for centuries, this huge object, or krater, reappeared in Rome in 1598, discovered in the inventory of the Medici Villa. Since the late-eighteenth century the vase has been displayed in Florence at the Uffizi Gallery. It is a gigantic one and a half meters tall.
The Industrial Revolution enabled manufacture on a large scale so it is possible to find many examples of Medici urns from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in an array of sizes, designs, and materials such as cast iron and even concrete. The above Medici urn is modeled loosely off the urns in French châteaux, where Medici urns ornament symmetrical gardens overflowing with flowers or perch on top of grand staircases and gateways.
4. Castelnaudary planters
Glazed emerald green these splendid garden planters from Castelnaudary generally date to the nineteenth century. Castelnaudary is a commune in the Occitanie region of France (a new region in the area of Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées).
At the Mayor's request, Castelnaudary planters graced the boulevards of Toulouse during the mid-nineteenth century. As they have a drainage hole in the base they can be enjoyed as a planter or simply laissez-faire. Explore the Castelnaudary planters currently available at Chez Pluie.
5. Willy Guhl Eternit plantersWilly Guhl was one of the first industrial designers in Switzerland; he had trained as a carpenter before studying at the Zurich School of Applied Arts, where he later taught. Guhl experimented with new materials and became well known for his minimalist creative forms.
In 1901 Ludwich Hatschek discovered that a particular combination of asbestos fibers, cement, pulp mixed with water, and air would be frost-resistant. Hatschek patented this and named it Eternit. In 1951 the Swiss Company Eternit, commissioned Guhl to create a range of attractive, durable planters using Eternit, including the Mouchoir and Diabolo.
Willy Guhl's Mouchoir or handkerchief planter is a playful and elegantly simple design. They are particularly suitable for moss, succulents, or orchids.
Guhl designed the Diabolo in the shape of an hourglass. Pictured above is the spa of Gwenyth Paltrow's new home with two Willy Guhl spindle or diabolo planters under the glass ceiling. Guhl’s planters are highly sought after and increasingly hard to find. Each one is a bit different, they have rich patinas, and some deliberately were made to tilt.
6. Faux Bois Planters
Here in France, this technique is known as Rocailleur and was crafted by hand without gloves to give the style its delicacy and naturalness. Rocailleur objects were made mostly to decorate public spaces, often imitating whole trees. In the 1930s, masons who were skilled in the Rocailleur technique opened their own businesses and made faux bois furniture on smaller scales.
Chez Pluie's current range of Faux Bois objects include: a small flower pot, a double pot, and a pair of rectangular planters (pictured above and directly below).
7. Plant stands
The various styles of pots, planters, and stands mentioned above can bring a French aesthetic to an outdoor or indoor space. Chez Pluie also has a number of other unique plant stands.
Currently in stock at Chez Pluie is a three-tier wrought-iron pot plant stand with beautiful decorative details and curves (pictured above). It's a very special piece and rare!
This splendid late-nineteenth-century French copper and brass cachepot with lions' head handles and brass claw feet would look magnificent in a hallway, living room, or dining room. Its shiny and smooth texture would contrast well on a wooden table or in a room with stone walls. A cachepot such as this would make a special wedding gift.
9. Window planter boxesChez Pluie has a range of stylish rectangular planters that would blend well on an exterior window ledge. Willy Guhl's iconic examples have been featured above. Chez Pluie also has a pair of rectangular stone planters from the early-twentieth century. They have an interesting wavy form, beautiful moss-covered patina and dainty feet (pictured below).
10. Small flowerpots
Chez Pluie always has a variety of small planters to choose from.
11. Saint Jean-de-Fos Pottery
Saint Jean-de-Fos is a small village in France where the River Herault emerges from its gorge. In the 1800s, there were over 70 artisans in residence. It is where a style of absolutely beautiful garden urns, planters, pots, and attractively shaped water jugs are made - some have brilliant and well-known French emerald-green glazes.
12. Orangerie Versailles PlantersIn 1670 the Versailles planter was conceived by landcape architect André Le Nôtre. Le Nôtre is famous for designing and implementing the Versailles gardens as they looked in the 17th century. The classical grandeur of the vast gardens, which included focal points such as parterres (ornamental flower beds), bosquets (open-air rooms surrounded by high hedges), sprouting fountains enclosed by clipped trees and topiary, has influenced landscape designers and gardeners ever since.
Finders ServiceCoveting a product that is on reserve or was recently sold? Please feel free to engage the Finders Service at Chez Pluie, Susannah and Hugh will be only too happy to help.
Et voilà. Thank you for reading this article about French pots and urns. I invite you to explore the full range of garden planters currently available for domestic and international purchase from Chez Pluie in the south of France.
Image credit: Terrres Vernissees by Christine Lahaussois (French book), Chez Pluie Provence, AD France, Architectural Digest, Velvet & Linen (Patina Farm), Veranda Magazine
Frequently asked questions
1) Why does France have so many different kinds of pots and urns and where can I learn more about them?
Like many regions in the world, historically France has been a place that has a strong tradition of arts and crafts. The country is fortunate that many of these age-old practices have been preserved up until the present. The making of pots and urns is an example of one area which remains in the hands of artisans. Villages and communes dotted all over the large country became famous for their own specialized and idiosyncratic techniques of making ceramics, which were passed down the generations. These objects are made following precise methods that produce very distinctive pieces. Browse Chez Pluie's Garden urns and planters collection to discover treasures available for purchase. For more in-depth articles on specific types of pots, read Chez Pluie's articles "Medici urns and 13 decorative uses", "The Anduze urn: Timeless elegance", "The Biot jar: An Ancient French Tradition", and "Antique confit pots decorating ideas".
2) Are there any modern-style French pots or planters?
Yes, a number of styles of French pots and planters have been made during 20th century and 21st century, many examples of which are available for purchase online at Chez Pluie. Modern designs include the fabulous Faux bois style and charming Arras garden furniture. Willy Guhl has made some iconic modern planters, including the Diabolo and the Mouchoir. Browse Chez Pluie's Garden urns and planters collection to discover treasures available for purchase.
3) Where can I buy a second-hand French pot?
It is possible to buy second-hand French pots through Chez Pluie. These include beautiful contemporary pots as well as vintage and antique pieces. Chez Pluie's range is always changing and new. Exciting pieces are added each week, so be sure to check the online store regularly!
4) Can I buy pots to order?
Yes, it is possible to order custom-made pots and urns through Chez Pluie. These beautiful pieces are made in the traditional workshops in Anduze, France, following ancient pot-making techniques. The artisans of Anduze craft traditional classic Anduze urns and olive jars (also known as Biot jars).
5) What should I plant in a French pot and how should I display it?Plant evergreen, woody foliage in pots and planters, such as boxwood, bay laurel, myrtle, and privet (these work well for topiary). Herbs, such as rosemary and basil look great in pots as well. Flowering fruit trees are also common choices for a French pot, such as kumquat, lemon, lime, and olive. Display your French pot in a garden, courtyard, porch, or indoors. If you intend to place your earthernware pot outside and you live in a region that is prone to freezing, it is best to line clay and terracotta planters with plastic liners and plant inside those to avoid the risk of cracking the pot. For more inspiration on giving a French feel to your garden read Chez Pluie's article, "Tips on how to create your French garden".
The Anduze urn. Timeless elegance
Antique French confit pots - decorating ideas
The most beautiful French gardens - Dominique Lafourcade
I love your Products and It is amazing and informative.
Pure art, pure magic! Pottery is spiritual experience.
I am packing my bags to to!
Lovely, inspiring photos….thank you.
Love love the urns & pictures. My favourite style for house & garden is French Country. Thank you.
Informative and beautiful! Thank you.
Very interesting narrative and the pictures are beautiful. I love these French
I love these pictures . French is my style