The first weekend of April was, like each year, the weekend of the European Art Trades Days.
When you live in Toulouse – like I do – the first name that comes to mind when talking about art trades is “Martres-Tolosane”, the name of a little town, some 60km southwest of Toulouse, that also designates a ceramic style.
The town of Martres-Tolosane, a round bastide, has been since the 18th century nationally famous for its ceramics and is still the home of many crockery artists who to this day use for their trade the same centuries old, done by hand methods.
Martres-Tolosane has a very old history. Near the nowadays town the Romans built in the 1st century BC a huge, luxurious villa, called now villa Chiragan. Successive excavations of the site allowed the discovery of exceptional antique sculptures now on display at Saint Raymond Museum of Toulouse.
Another event that marked the history of Martres-Tolosane was the 9th century battle between the armies of Charlemagne and the Saracens that took place at “Le Campestrés” on the bank of the Garonne River. The Francs army led by Vidian, a Duke of the Carolingian Empire, was outnumbered by the Saracens and Vidian and his companions were massacred and martyred on the battlefield. According to the legend the tomb of Vidian and those of his comrades became sites of miracles and the location of their deaths came to be known as the Martres-Tolosane or the martyrs of Toulouse.
The relics of Saint Vidian are kept in the town’s church dedicated to the saint.
Each year on Trinity Sunday the people of Martres-Tolosane celebrate the transfer of the relics of Saint Vidian to a new reliquary with a high mass and the re-enactment of the battle of Le Campestrés between Christian and Saracen troops.
Hi, I am Carla. I am living and working in the beautiful city of Toulouse, France.
I like history, travel and... the southwest of France and try to share through this blog information about events that might be of interest to the travelers to this part of the world!