The first tribes inhabited these places in the II century BC were the Ligurians. In 154, they were relegated to the power of the Roman conquerors and passed into the possession of the Roman colony of Antipolis (Antibes). In the Middle Ages, the land was at the disposal of the Templars. The lands were donated to them by a Count of Provence Alphonse II at the beginning of the thirteenth century. During the reign of the Templars, the village began to develop rapidly. Craftsmen from all over the region flocked here-carpenters, potters, blacksmiths, glassblowers, bricklayers. Thanks to them, the first fortresses, churches and military buildings were built in the village. Together with construction, trade and crafting were developed in the village. A few years later Biot became a prosperous town and the most important center in Provence. But, at the beginning of the XIV century, the town fell into decay, as the Templars were destroyed. In the same century, Biot was devastated by a century-long war and plague. It took more than a century for the village to reborn again.
Today there are many monuments of medieval architecture in Biot, especially in the old part of the village. Rising up the commune along the wide boulevard of Saint Sebastian, you will see low-colored houses on both sides of the street. On the lower floors of these houses there are numerous cafes, small shops, and a tourist office of Biot. At the end of the boulevard, the old town begins.
On the narrow square of Arcades (Place des Arcades), which is framed on both sides by houses with vaulted galleries, there is the Romanesque church of Saint Mary Magdalene built in 1155 with a richly decorated interior. It is worth visiting this church to take a look at the painted iconostasis of the Virgin Mary by the artist Louis Brea. Fans of religious buildings should take a look at the beautiful village chapels, which are eight in Biot.
Walking along cozy streets of the Biot, you can stumble upon a small «window» among the houses, which here was called the «place of disaster». In 1898, during the festivities there was a tragedy - 3 houses were unexpectedly collapsed, which killed 26 people.
At the edge of the village there is the museum of Fernand Leger a modern artist, one of the founders of the avant-garde, decorated with a mosaic according to the artist's sketch. Leger settled in Biot in 1949 and bequeathed all his works to the town, having previously bought a place for the future museum. Next to this museum, on the territory of 2000 m², there is the Bonsai arboretum (Musee du Bonsai), containing a collection of Japanese trees. This Japanese garden has been cultivated for several decades by the Okonek family. Tropical shrubs and trees are well established on French land. By the way, in the garden you can buy a small bonsai and get advice from a specialist in its cultivation.
Village of Biot is famous in the area for its glass production. On the streets you can see many shops and workshops, where they make products from blown glass. The ancient technologies of glass production are still used by local craftsmen. They produce amazing products - bottles, jugs, glasses, mugs and decorative products. Here you can not only buy beautiful glassware, but also see their production first hand. In Biot there is a very interesting museum of glass. Owners of the glass blowing workshop, the Monod family in 1956 developed a special technique - «bubble glass», which made their products famous throughout the world. A distinctive feature of glass products is small bubbles, frozen in the walls of glasses and other products. So the defect turned into dignity.
Many Biot’s workshops offer lessons and master classes for those who are constantly learning something new - drawing, sculpture, modeling, and photography. In some of the classes you can create your own piece of jewelry or even blow out a small vase.
It is worth saying that due to the abundance of sand and clay in the region, local masters of Biot became famous on the French Riviera, thanks to their ceramic products. And the artists have perfected the art of painting on ceramics - the ceramic products of Biot are distinguished by their special pattern. In 1981, the Museum of the History of Pottery of Biot was opened in the building of the old hospitals of St.Jacques. In the exposition of the museum you can get acquainted with the fascinating history of ceramics production, learn about the traditions and technologies of pottery, look at old pots, vases, jugs, glasses, mugs and other pottery. Modern works of ceramic art are placed in one of the parts of the chapel of the White Penitent Sinners (Chapelle des Pénitents Blancs), which is a part of the museum and was built in the 17th century.
Provencal Biot is a commune where science, art and simple life benith the sun of the Cote d'Azur have merged. Welcome to Biot!
Prominent personalities associated with Biot:
Events and Celebrations in Biot:
- Pierre-Joseph Olive (1817 - 1899) - French architect, born in Biot
- Michaël Fulci - chef of «Les Terraillers» restaurant, one of the most talented chefs of his time
- Artists often visited Biot: Fernand Léger, Hans Hedberg and Paul Cognasse
- Honorary residents of Biot: director Claude Autant-Lara, cartoonist Raymond Peynet, stylist Arlette Chacok
- Farmer's Market - Thursdays in the historic center
- Mimosa Festival (Fête du Mimosa) – February
- Templar Feast and Knight Tournament - March
- Music Festival (Fête de la Musique) - June
- Puppet Festival (Festival de Marionnettes) - July
- Patronal feast of St. Julien (Fête de la St Julien) - August
- Harvest Festival (Fête des Vendanges) - September
- Christmas (Féeries de Noël) - December