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Crystal glass factory
la Verreries Cristallerie, Arques


Some of Arques' world-famous crystal

Modern Glassware factory
You can tour the visitor centre and small museum of Arques' huge glassware factory, and buy products at its factory shop. 11,000 people work here on round-the-clock shifts. It is the largest employer in the coastal region of Nord Pas-de-Calais - a vital part of the region's livelihood.

The works was founded by the Durand family in 1825 to make demijohns for Bordeaux winemakers. For the next century it remained a small local glassworks.

American methods
Then in 1930 Jacques Durand went to the USA and visited several American glassworks, learning about the latest mass-production techniques. On his return, the old mouth-blowing craft techniques were replaced by industrial methods - tank furnaces and non-stop production.

Groups can arrange to see an audio-visual presentation of the modern mass-production of glass - with an overview of the complete process on the factory floor:
1. [Top left] molten gob of glass, the modern equivalent of the old craft of glass-blowing
2. [Top right] Machines making glass stems
3. [Left] Completing the finished article
4. [Right] Automation on the factory floor

Compare this automated factory with the preserved 19th centuy glassworks at Trélon.

Successful industry
Now Arques produces 1,000 tonnes of glass a day - 5 million items. 75% of its output of mass-market glassware is exported to 155 countries. It is still a family firm - the current owner, Jean-Jacques Durand is thought to be one of France's top 10 richest people.

The factory shop sells the whole product range of glasses, carafes, oven-to-table ware, and household items for about 20% below normal French shop prices - with special offers.

Background Information

"Shopping Trail"

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Zone industrielle, R.N.43 avenue du Général de Gaulle,
62510 ARQUES
Directions: Take "Arques" exit from A26 autoroute. Follow signs to: "Accueil visites".
Guide to opening hours:
OPEN Monday-Sat 0900-1730; CLOSED: Sundays and holidays.
Information/ reservations:
Tel: 00 33 3 21 12 74 74
Fax: 00 33 3 21 12 74 10

If you are interested in GLASS:

Factory tours of giant modern glassworks, with factory shop bargains:
Crystal glassworks, Arques
History of glass-making and artists working in glass:
Glass Workshop, Trélon
Glass Museum, Sars-Poteries
Glass-blower, Saint Omer



& Arques

Canal & Barge Lift © Copyright 1999 Invicta Media. Last updated 20th October 1999