Now Moustiers-Sainte-Marie commune has no more than eight hundred people. Those who are not engaged in the faience production work in souvenir shops, cafes and small restaurants. The storefronts open in the morning, at 7-8 o’clock it already smells with croissants and coffee on the streets. (And on Fridays a small market works in the village where the locals offer the tourists fresh food products: olive oil, fruits and vegetables, lavender honey, cheese, sausages and biscuits).
The history of Moustiers Sainte-Marie has nearly sixteen centuries, back in the fifth century the monks began to settle in the caves that were around here.
This settlement became well-known in France in the 17-18 centuries when the production of beautiful faience items was started here. According to the prevailing legend, some pilgrim, a native of Italy, from Fayence city arrived there in those times. And in gratitude for the hospitality he let the local potter in on a secret how he could prepare a resistant beautiful enamel of white colour for his crockery.
Then the potter decided to “experiment” by mixing the new white enamel with the traditional blue one which he used previously. Thus the production of now famous faience of Moustiers-Sainte-Marie was started ...
However, there was a break in the tradition. The production was closed in 1873, and was renewed only in 1925! New craftsmen “breathed a new spirit” in the settlement life, their crockery continues to please the people and be in great demand.
There is also an original attraction in Moustiers Sainte-Marie, in the form of a huge “gold” star hanging above the village at a tremendous chain. Weekly the tourists come here not only for faience, but also to see that local “miracle” (the chain weighs around 150 kg, its length is 135 meters, and the diameter of the stars - they changed from time to time - varied from 30 to 180 cm). According to the legend, the star on the chain was hung by the Duc de Blanca, who made a vow that if he got out alive from the enemy captivity he would decorate his home village in such a way.
Arriving here, be sure to examine the Notre-Dame chapel and church (Notre Dame de Beauvoir), a beautiful panoramic view of the Valyansol Plateau with the Maire Valley opens from the mountain on which it is located.