Own a little of northeastern France
Stars and Stripes May 29, 2008
Ceramics, crystal, candy and jam are among the popular products of northeastern France. You can visit factories, museums and shops where all can be admired and purchased.
Here are some of the popular shopping venues:
• Braquier Confiseur Chocolatier specializes in a local candy called dragées de Verdun, candy-covered almonds. During a factory visit, you’ll see women sorting almonds — up to 250 pounds of nuts per day. Imperfect specimens must be discarded. A factory shop sells a wide variety of the confection.
The factory is at 50 rue du Fort de Vaux, Verdun. Tours are given at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and at 9:30 and 10:30 a.m. Friday. The shop is open 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30-7 p.m. daily. Details can be found atwww.dragees-braquier.com.
• Faïence Manufacturer of Lunéville-Saint Clement, which has been in business since 1728, produces a special type of clay-based ceramics ranging from small decorative items to dishes, lamps, statues and vases. The site has a faïence museum as well as a factory outlet shop.
Group tours of the factory are available by special arrangement. The factory, in Cyfflé, Saint Clément, about six miles east of Lunéville, is open 10 a.m. to noon and 2-5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 2-5:30 p.m. Mondays. (+33) (0)383-72-63-05.
• Baccarat is the name in crystal. The center at Rue des Cristalleries in Baccarat has outstanding examples in its museum and in its shop. Glassware, vases, decorative objects and jewelry can be purchased. But, it’s pricey. The cheapest glass: 70 euros for one. Its jewelry has become quite popular; a crystal heart necklace with a heart dangling from a cord is 113 euros.
From April 1 to Nov. 1, the museum is open 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and 2-6:30 p.m.; Nov. 2 to March 31, 10 a.m. to noon and 2-6 p.m. Admission is 2.50 euros.
The town of Baccarat is lined with other crystal shops, selling Baccarat and other brands of crystal.
• Confitures à la Lorraine produces a red currant jam known as the "red caviar" of Bar-Le-Duc. It is a rare variety of the jam, in which the currant seeds are removed from the berry by hand using a feather. Victor Hugo and Alfred Hitchcock were fans of the red caviar.
Production takes place only three weeks during the summer when the berries are ripe. You can visit the shop, a tiny museum, see a film, a "seeder" demonstration and taste the jam for 5 euros. A small jar (85 grams) of the jam costs 12 euros.
The shop and museum, at 35 rue de l’Etoile, Bar-le-Duc, is open 2:30-6 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. to noon and 2:30-6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; and 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Details at www.groseille.com.
— Leah Larkin