Site industriel historique
Located on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence, the village of Les Milles is encircled by clay lowlands propitious to terracotta objects crafting.
The proximity of water brought by the Arc River is essential to the crafting of tiles and bricks, as it influences the quality of clay.
The arrival of railways at Les Milles will allow the supplying of energy: coal from Gardanne, and the transportation of the end products.
With all conditions gathered an industrial tilery was born in Les Milles.
The tilery of les Milles is created in 1882, in a context of industrial growth in the tiles and bricks industry. In this three story building, tiles and bricks were manufactured. In 1939, for economic reasons, the tilery ceased to operate.
Thus, when the war started, the place was already closed. The French state, looking for a place to detain political enemies of allied countries, was then able to use it freely.
Firstly, only men were detained, but progressively, women and children were brought along (only on the second floor of the building). After the war, in 1947, manufacture of bricks restarted until 1992. The spot was closed once and for all in 2002. The Lafarge group, last owner of the place, sold it to the Fondation pour la Mémoire de la Shoah.
The Milles camp was then restored and became, since late 2012, an open to the public Memorial-Site aiming at educating people about fraternity and respect toward others.