The porcelain factory called la Manufacture nationale de Sèvres was one of the characteristic state enterprises of France of the ancient regime. From being a royal concern it became an imperial factory and is now managed by the Ministry of Culture. Sèvres is a community in the south-west suburbs of Paris, served by a station on Metro line 2. The porcelain works has its origins in 1738. A factory at Vincennes under the patronage of Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour was established in 1740. In 1756 production was moved to Sèvres near to Madame de Pompadour’s Bellevue Palace. The main building of the new factory, built between 1753 and 1756 was 130 m long. It became formally a royal factory from 1759, and set standards which manufacturers all over Europe strove to equal. The present-day factory consists of some 25 buildings classified as historical monuments within a 4 ha site. Only goods of the highest quality are produced – no more than 5,000 pieces a year, falling into five principal categories, table wares, vases and other decorative pieces, stoneware, classical pieces and contemporary sculptures. Visitors to Sèvres are offered a variety of guided tours some of which include visits to the workshops. There are displays of the historic pieces made at the works, together with the documents that illustrate its development, and a shop which sells the company’s contemporary ranges.