PART 1: Our “atelier” (workshop)


Our espadrilles are handmade in the south west of France, in a region called the Basque country.

The Basque country is a very special place with an authentic and unique lifestyle.
It is one of these places where the ocean meets the mountains, where surfboards lean against walls of houses, a place where everybody smiles.

When I decided to launch Atelier Aliénor back in 2016, I had a clear vision of what I wanted. I wanted a beautiful product, well made, honest and with a story. So I left Paris for a few days and drove to the Basque Country, the cradle of espadrille.

I knocked on doors, visited factories until I found exactly what I was looking for… A family-owned workshop where four craftsmen work under the supervision of Jean-Pierre, his daughter Sandrine and his grandson Alex. Jean-Pierre has been crafting espadrilles for almost 50 years, so he knows exactly what he’s doing… And sometimes, it can be challenging for me!!

The workshop is located in Mauléon, about an hour from Biarritz. It is one of the last manufactures that still use traditional handmade techniques. It is an art of its own that has almost disappeared due to globalization.

Here are a few numbers about the production of espadrilles in Mauléon:

 Early 1940sToday
Production of espadrilles per year10 millions1.5 million
Number of factories407 (only 2 with manual manufacturing process)
Number of workers1,800less than 40

That’s how I realized it became more and more urgent to preserve and promote this heritage.

And that’s why we need you!

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