The Christmas bauble reveals its manufacturing secrets in the Vosges Mountains

Inspiration

Vosges MountainsShopping and French Savoir Faire

Cada año, el Centro Internacional de Arte del Vidrio pide a un diseñador que imagine una bola de Navidad.
© Guy Reibmester - Cada año, el Centro Internacional de Arte del Vidrio pide a un diseñador que imagine una bola de Navidad.

Reading time: 0 minPublished on 15 August 2023, updated on 13 June 2024

What would Christmas be without the Christmas tree and decorations? The tradition of the mouth-blown glass Christmas bulb lives on the in the village of Meisenthal, in the Northern Vosges Mountains. To learn the manufacturing secrets of the most famous Christmas decorations, France.fr takes us on a tour of the International Glass Art Center.

Once upon a time...

Une souffleuse de verre au travail dans le Massif des Vosges.
© Guy Rebmeister - Une souffleuse de verre au travail dans le Massif des Vosges.

Legend has it that the Christmas bulb was invented in 1858, after a drought that left very little fruit to decorate the Christmas tree. A glassblower from Goetzenbruck came up with the idea of creating glass bulbs to brighten up the tree, and thus a tradition was born.

Dans le Massif des Vosges, on perpétue la fabrication des boules de Noël en verre soufflé.
© Guy Rebmeister - Dans le Massif des Vosges, on perpétue la fabrication des boules de Noël en verre soufflé.

The Goetzenbruck glassworks then successfully launched the production of decorative balls, before being caught by the plastic boom in the 1960s and putting an end to production. It was not until the end of the 1990s that the neighbouring glassworks in Meisenthal decided to revive this tradition.

Making memories

Le soufflage du verre, un véritable savoir-faire du Massif des Vosges.
© Guy Rebmeister - Le soufflage du verre, un véritable savoir-faire du Massif des Vosges.

Since 1998, the Meisenthal CIAV has passed down the know-how of Goetzenbruck glassmakers by producing mouth-blown glass Christmas bulbs.

La collection de boules de Noël fabriquée à Meisenthal, dans le Massif des Vosges, compte une vingtaine de créations.
© Guy Rebmeister - La collection de boules de Noël fabriquée à Meisenthal, dans le Massif des Vosges, compte une vingtaine de créations.

The International Glass Art Center (CIAV) now offers two collections of Christmas bulbs: a traditional line and a contemporary one. Each year, the latter is extended to include a new designer ornament.

Oh Christmas tree

Les boules de Noël fabriquée au CIAV, dans le Massif des Vosges.
© Guy Rebmeister - Les boules de Noël fabriquée au CIAV, dans le Massif des Vosges.

Until December 30th, the glass-making site of Meisenthal invites you to discover its latest vintage with an exhibition and demonstrations. It is also an opportunity to enlarge one's collection of Christmas decorations and to take home a small souvenir of the know-how of these master glassmakers.

"Extra"

Création de la boule de Noël "Extra" sur le site verrier de Meisenthal, dans le massif des Vosges.
© Communauté de Communes du Pays de Bitche - Création de la boule de Noël "Extra" sur le site verrier de Meisenthal, dans le massif des Vosges.

In 2022, the designer Nicolas Verschaeve imagined "Extra", a dreamy Christmas bauble with generous shapes. This creation, which takes the lines of industrial bottle tops, is inspired by local know-how.

Terrestrial Stars

Meisenthal glassworks in the Regional Nature Park of the Northern Vosges includes the International Glass Art Center, the Glass Hall, and the Glass Museum. These make up part of the Terrestrial Stars constellation, which include three remarkable sites: the Northern Vosges Regional Nature Park, the Lalique Museum in Wingen-sur-Moder, and the Saint-Louis Crystal Museum.

By France.fr

The magazine of the destination unravels an unexpected France that revisits tradition and cultivates creativity. A France far beyond what you can imagine…

See more