Villedieu intercom travail du cuivre
©Villedieu intercom travail du cuivre|Sabina Lorkin anibasphotography
Discover La Manche

Villedieu‑les‑Poêles

Villedieu-les-Poêles, discovering the skills of yesteryear

Villedieu-les-Poêles has been known for centuries for its copper and lace work. Its fame, the city also owes it to its bell foundry, some of its creations adorning, for example, Notre-Dame-de-Paris. For all that, we cannot limit ourselves to its craftsmanship to define the assets of this city. Villedieu-les-Poêles is also a green setting, crossed by the Sienne, where it is good to stroll, rest, return to the time of the washerwomen. Visiting or staying in Villedieu-les-Poêles, is finally alternating between pages of history and moments of relaxation.

Intercom Villedieu les poêles
©Intercom Villedieu les poêles|Sabrina Lorkin anibasphotography

The bell foundry, we’re hammered about it!

If the current foundry – Cornille Havard – dates from 1865, the History uniting art campanaire and Villedieu-les-Poêles is much older. Already in the XVIth century, the town was home to founders. The Havard family, including illustrious members such as Paul or Adolphe, and the Cornille family, including Léon and Marguerite, have perpetuated this ancestral know-how that is a must-see. To do so, head to the foundry, which offers guided tours of the workshop where old-time techniques and modern technologies are subtly mixed. To conclude this visit in beauty, what better than a stop in the boutique where you will discover bells, brassware, souvenirs and local products. In a word, IN-MAN-QUA-BLE!

Did you know – What are the names of the inhabitants of Villedieu-les-Poêles?

The Sourdin(e)s or Theopolitans. While the two gentiles seem unrelated, they both refer to particular aspects of the city. “Sourdin” refers to the copper work (dinandry, piping) which, through repetitive hammering, contributed to deafening the craftsmen. “Theopolitan,” meanwhile, refers to the name of the city itself, Ville-dieu, the city of God, which is said in Greek Theopolis. Still, favor the first name.

On the banks of the Siena, dive into the History of the laundries and the washerwomen!

The history of the city is also that of the river that runs through it, the Sienne. The most beautiful vestiges of this not-so-distant era remain the washhouses that can be seen here and there along the water. As a reminder, they were used, as their name suggests, to wash clothes in a period when hygiene was becoming a national priority. The washing tub, public or private, was then the place of a very precise ceremonial where the laundry was successively soaped, brushed and then beaten by the washerwomen getting down to this exhausting work. Between heritage natural and heritage material, these places full of history cannot wait any longer for your visit.

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