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“Interesting place to visit but not good at dealing with visitors”

Cornille Havard - Fondeur de Cloches
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Owner description: In an authentic 19th Century workshop, discover nine centuries of tradition, from ageless methods to modern technology.
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Activities for young children, Wheelchair access
Norwich England
Level 5 Contributor
81 reviews
23 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 91 helpful votes
“Interesting place to visit but not good at dealing with visitors”
Reviewed December 20, 2013

Three times we tried to visit this bell foundry before we were sucessful in gaining access and a tour it is closed in the morning most of the year and only accepts english speaking visitors at 4pm just before the attaction closes for the day. The foundry building is quite small but includes all the processes used to make hand and church belles from quite small ones to some of the very largest ones its claim to fame is it made the new Millenium bells for Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.
However please do not be disappointed you are unlikely to see a bell being cast.

Visited September 2013
1 Thank SK1R1D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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262 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Russian first
  • Any
English first
Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Level 4 Contributor
45 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Nice, but a bit short”
Reviewed November 23, 2013

It is nice to find a place where the tour is in German, English and French. It is a nice place, but a bit small. We loved seeing how the clocks are made and our guide knew what he was talkign about. He clearly liked the place a lot.
It is a short tour and that is my only negative about it. Would have loved to have spent more time there and have had some interactive stuff as well as just wandering through

Visited August 2013
1 Thank DutchandKiwi
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Caen, France
Level 6 Contributor
178 reviews
53 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“A rare opportunity”
Reviewed October 11, 2013 via mobile

Few who hear bells ring in towns and villages actually know how these bells are made. Even less have actually witnessed the production of bells. At the "Fonderie" you'll get everything explained in detail. It is interesting and you'll learn a lot. If you're in the area, grab the opportunity if you can.

1 Thank ClogsinFrance
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Victoria, Canada
Level 4 Contributor
37 reviews
12 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
“Well worth a visit”
Reviewed July 28, 2013

This was a very interesting and not-to-be-missed visit. My wife thought that it would be just a technical "guy thing", but she found it very interesting as well. We had an excellent guide who responded to all our questions. It helped that my wife had been a CASA guide at Notre Dame de Paris and that the foundry had recently made 8 bells for Notre Dame. One note: the Fonderie des cloches is a working French foundry that happens to provide guided tours. It is not primarily a tourist attraction, so the foundry of course observes French working hours (it is closed at lunch) -- so be sure to check on the opening hours before going. As well, remember that large bells are very LOUD when rung.

Visited July 2013
1 Thank Heimbody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
156 reviews
21 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 144 helpful votes
“Time travel to the Middle Ages. Almost.”
Reviewed July 1, 2013

Visiting the Cornille-Havard in Villedieu-les-Poêles is a rare treat. You never know who you will come across! Or rather, which new bell. In line with a long tradition, most church bells are named, and on our first visit we met the 6,334 kg. bourdon, Étienne, the largest bell to be cast in France for forty years, now installed in Mulhouse in the East of France. But on our second visit we were privileged to see the birth, and on further visits follow the progress, of the new peal of eight bells installed earlier this year in the north tower of Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris. It was moving to see the care involved in their manufacture by craftsmen and artists, knowing that their bells would ring out at Note-Dame for years to come.

Here is an authentic, working foundry, whose owners are happy to share the history of their tradition with visitors and whose manufacturing methods have hardly changed since the Middle Ages, though now the specification for all new bells is worked out by computer, leaving the fine tuning to skilled experts once the bells have been cast.

The (atelier) workshop is dusty and atmospheric, sometimes noisy. On our visits, we saw bells in nearly every stage of manufacture from the initial moulds being made in their pits, to the preparation of a finished bell for delivery. We were taken round by knowledgeable guides, who explained the process in a straightforward way. At the end of the tour, we found useful booklets and further information in the company shop.

Wear strong shoes.
If you arrive in Villedieu-les-Poêles over the lunch hour, try a local café or restaurant and wait till the foundry reopens at 2.00 pm. It’s worth it. Parking is easier at this time too.

Visited November 2012
1 Thank Patricia S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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