Women of Provence: Marion Ravel, an extraordinary potter

As manager of a pottery studio alongside her sister Julie, Marion Ravel has the all-consuming passion of those who embody a family business. From her workshop in the heart of a magnificent farmhouse in Aubagne, she discusses her life story and her vision of the world. Discovery.
By Mélissa Darré

A character trait that is unique to Provence?

What do they say about people from the South? That they enjoy taking a siesta I think (laughs). At least I do! But my main character trait is more one of endurance. This is exhibited by a certain strength of character which comes out on a daily basis, both privately and at work, which is all about staying the course no matter what problems you might come across.

Your dream job?

I would have very much liked to have been a film actress! When I was younger I even attended the Cours Florent drama school. I love this notion of being able to change lives by taking on different roles, as well as crossing different eras. It seems like a fascinating job.

A gift from nature that you would like to have?

Being eternally thin (laughs)! There are two types of people: those who can eat everything that passes in front of them without putting on an ounce, and everyone else. I'm very greedy and it's a struggle not to be tempted at every turn.

Gérante de sa poterie
© José Nicolas

Your motto?

A great quote from the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius: "God, give me grace to accept the things that cannot be changed, courage to change what should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other". It distinguishes between two types of attitudes: the spirit of initiative and the strength of acceptance, as well as the analytical ability to avoid taking on a battle that is already lost.

Your favourite time of the day?

Waking up. I am fortunate to have a husband who brings me my breakfast in bed every morning. I like to make the most of this special moment before starting the day.

The smell and sound that you associate with Provence?

If we’re talking about the smell, it’s the arid land with its strong and fragrant scent. For sound, the noise of the waves on the white rocks.

Ses ateliers de fabrication,
© José Nicolas

Your favourite Provençal dish?

My mum's pissaladière. It is a typical Niçoise recipe, a kind of onion, olive and anchovy tart. She has been making it since I was tiny.

Your favourite place in Provence?

My husband's country house in Jouques, near Aix-en-Provence. It's a 15th century farm and where we got married. There are olive, oak and cypress trees there. It's a place that is particularly symbolic of Provençal wealth, full of light, space and plants.

The aspect of Provence you miss most when you are abroad?

Savouring a glass of rosé in a small café in the centre of Lubéron.

Marion Ravel, une surprenante potière
© José Nicolas

Your best memory of Provence?

The celebrations on Christmas Eve. I was born into a family that celebrates Christmas in the purest tradition. We sing all the great classics from 11 am until 1 am in the morning. It's the one moment when we all come together!

Your perception of the Provençal woman?

Extremely Mediterranean, with a "mama” side to their personality - I really like their ability to give so much love, even if it is sometimes intrusive. Talk a lot, cook a lot, love a lot - these are the attributes of the woman of the house, where the need to give is essential.

Your definition of female beauty?

A woman who stands out at first glance. She doesn’t need to be a size 8 or be 6 feet tall; she will stand out because she is radiant and luminous, shining like the sun. She is a woman who, despite having faced the vagaries of life, is following her path with the utmost elegance.

www.poterie-ravel.com

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