Top 4 Places to buy Hand Blown Glass in Paris
Give me anything handmade, and you’ll get a happy girl. The talent and handwork that goes into doing any sort of craft by hand is something that I can really get behind!
I may be a writer now, but once upon a time I studied Fashion. I learned how to create clothing, and I can attest that the art of making something with your hands is something really special. To see raw materials turn into something you can wear or use is an experience that I would recommend to anyone.
As Paris, for me at least, is an unofficial capital of art, so it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of creators in the city just waiting for you to discover.
Keep reading to learn a little bit more about the history of glassblowing, and my top 4 places to buy hand blown glass in Paris!
A Brief History of Glassblowing
Glass has existed in nature since the beginning of time, occurring when certain rocks and sand melt when heated due to things like volcanic eruptions.
The oldest evidence of shaped glass items like vases date back to 16th century BC. Artifacts have been found in what would have been ancient Mesopotamia, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece and ancient China! Civilizations all over the world were discovering this craft around the same time, it seems.
Glassblowing developed steadily throughout history, from the ancient times, to the Middle Ages, and throughout the Renaissance. In France in particular, in 1688, a new technique was uncovered. This new process involved glass plates, and vastly improved the production of mirrors.
The French king and queen also decided that they wanted to try to attract Italian glassblowers to come and practice their craft in France. This was not an easy feat, as at the time it was looked down upon to leave one’s home country to bring valuable skills to another. The story goes that many Venetian glass blowers actually faced death threats when they were found out for sharing their techniques with the French.
The French court was aware of these obstacles, and therefore worked hard to come up with different incentives to urge Venetian glass blowers to make the big move. They offered French citizenship after 8 years, and tax exemption, among other things.
The glassblowing industry developed and grew worldwide throughout the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries to today. New innovations such as computers have helped to bring this art into the 21st century.
Now that you know where glassblowing got it it’s start, it’s time to move onto the top 4 places to buy hand blown glass in Paris!
1. Talents Boutique
The Talents Boutique in the 17th arrondissement, located not too far from the Arc de Triomphe, should be your go-to to check out some amazing handmade interior design pieces. They offer tableware, jewellery, decoration and lighting pieces, to name a few! The boutique is run by Ateliers d’Art de France, an association that represents artists, craftsmen, and craft companies throughout France. Their mission? To get their artists’ work out into the public, and to help those that they represent make a living from their craft.
My favorite pieces happen to be by the artists Anne Donzé and Vincent Chagnon. They have created their version of a plastic bag, but made of glass! Talk about a statement piece for your coffee table or bookshelf.
Head to the Talents Boutique the next time you’re in Paris to check out the rest of their products. I’ll cross my fingers that you find something to take home!
Address: 26 avenue Neil, 75017 Paris
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 11am-2pm, 3pm-7pm
2. La Soufflerie
This may be my favorite place on my list, if only for their commitment to using recycled glass! I am all about any sort of company that works towards saving our planet.
While La Soufflerie is not a shop or a boutique, they do offer custom made options for all of your glass needs. You can head to their headquarters in the 15th arrondissement with an idea in mind, and come out feeling confident that your creation is in good hands.
La Soufflerie is family owned and run, and their goal is to support glassblowers, and to preserve the art of glassblowing!
You can find products produced by La Soufflerie throughout Paris, France, and other places across the globe. Click here for their list of boutiques.
Address: 26 rue Lecourbe, 75015 Paris
Metro: Sèvres-Lecourbe / Ségur
Opening hours: Contact Valentina at +33 (0)6 20 75 73 06 or email@example.com to visit the studio
3. Le Four
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Le Four is the only glassblowing workshop in Paris, where you can also try your hand at this ancient form of art. They have an online boutique where you can buy pieces that were produced in their atelier, and they offer classes available as well.
If you find yourself strolling the streets behind the Gare de Lyon and Bastille, stop by their studio in the Viaduc des Arts. You can take a peek through the windows to see what the craftsmen are getting up to, and see if taking a class is something that would interest you!
If you do decide that you’re interested, you’ll just need to email (see below) the owner Jeremy to schedule a class. He also puts on monthly group workshops!
Address: 101 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
Metro: Gare de Lyon / Reuilly Diderot
Opening hours: Open to the public on Saturdays from 10am-6pm. Email Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
4. Verreries des Lumières
Verreries des Lumières is a small handblown glass boutique located in the 15th arrondissement. It was opened by the pair Marie and Pascal, in the hopes of spreading the word of the beauty of this lost art form.
Their tableware products range from Renaissance styles to more contemporary ones. You can also order custom made pieces that will be uniquely your own. Much of their work has is inspired by period dramas such as the French series Versailles and the French movie Les Adieux à la Reine.
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So, if you’re looking for some historically accurate handblown glass pieces, Verreries des Lumières is the boutique for you!
Address: 16 Rue Plumet, 75015 Paris
Metro: Volontaires / Pasteur
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 2:30pm-7pm. Hours may vary so it’s best to make an appointment by emailing Marie at email@example.com
If you come to Paris and are looking to buy some incredible handblown glass, I’ve got your back! Save this article and head to some of my recommendations, and I’m sure you’ll find something that catches your eye.
If you want to go on a walking tour in Paris, I’ve got your back for that too. Click here to learn more about all of our touring options with our fabulous local guides!