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A little history ...

History of the museum

Carte postale d'une ancienne usine

At the start of the twentieth century , Bussières was one of the two main poles of attraction in the Monts du Lyonnais. Textile is its driving force. Indeed, the commercial industrial and artisanal activity was important, which allowed the municipality to develop considerably.

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Since the Middle Ages, peasant weavers spin hemp, clothes, linen, uniforms for the Napoleonic armies ... In the nineteenth century, farmers weavers are recruited by the Lyon silk. In each house, in each village, there is a workshop.

Created in 1977 by Pierre Berchoux with the support of the municipality, the museum was housed in the former Braud factory in 1998. The building dates from the 1920s.

At the end of the 1950s, fifteen weavers worked here, assisted by weavers at home. Each weaver takes care of three or four looms.
Workers wove high-end fabrics there, including one for Grace Kelly's wedding dress!


The Braud factory was sold in 1963 to Henri Gousset. Seven years later, it closed its doors for good, ending nearly 50 years of weaving.
Today, the museum team is setting up the weaving looms of yesterday and today, impressive in terms of technicality, for you ...

The history of silk

Sumptuous, heavenly, royal, silk embodies beauty.

This fabric has never been equaled before. Indeed, we do not find its qualities in any other fabric. Would the silkworm also called bombyx mori (or mulberry bombyx) be stronger than humans to create such a strong thread (resistance comparable to a steel wire of the same section)?
Silk offers very appreciable thermal comfort; it keeps warm in winter and cool in summer, moreover it is hypoallergenic.
It is a really fabulous fabric but so rare.

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But how did we discover this thread with incomparable virtues?

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According to the very old legend, silk was discovered in China around 4000 years ago (in 2700 BC):

“Princess Xi Ling Shi was playing with a bombyx cocoon when suddenly he fell into her cup of tea. She took it in her hand and gently pulled on a small thread that protruded and when she arrived at the end, the cocoon had disappeared and had given way to a long thread. The princess then decided to plant many white mulberry trees in her garden to raise silkworms. The silkworms (or bombyx) and mulberry trees were divinely well cared for by the princess (silkworms feed only on white mulberry leaves). "

According to legend, she was the first to unwind a silk thread.

Then, we discovered that we could make fabrics with incomparable qualities with this yarn. It then became a product reserved for the making of imperial clothing. Silk remained for several millennia a secret well kept by the Chinese: an imperial decree punished with death anyone who tried to divulge this secret. Building on its success, it was exported in turn to Japan, India and then to other countries, notably thanks to the illustrious Silk Roads. And this, by methods at least dubious (spies, looters, illegal businesses ...).

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As far as Europe is concerned, we know that the Romans were very fond of this fabric, but it is assumed that it was not until the 10th century that the first attempts at sericulture were made in southern Italy. For a long time the European silk market was exclusively Italian.

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In the 19th century, Lyon became a major place for silk, to the point of becoming a world hub. You will also find, in Vieux Lyon, traces of the weavers of the time trained by the Italians, who settled in the Saint-Georges district and around the Saint-Jean cathedral. Shortly after, the silk arrived on the looms of Bussières.

bombyx mori

Watch this video to learn more about this fabric

Weaving and silk in Lyon

To walk on the historic site of Lyon is to stroll through time, from its foundation in 43 BC to the present day. The city has kept permanent and continuous traces of the periods that have marked its history.

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During the Renaissance, the city had four annual fairs of two weeks each which attracted merchants from all over Europe. International, Lyon becomes a financial center and hosts branches of Italian, Florentine, Milanese and Lucquois bankers.

In 1536 François Ier granted Lyon the privilege of weaving silk, silver and gold thread. The weavers then set up their workshops in the Saint-Georges district of present-day Old Lyon.
La Fabrique was born, bringing together all stages of the manufacture to the sale of silks. It marks the start of a flourishing industry, until the wars of religion. Lyon is a stage of the Silk Road.

The techniques progress over the years, in particular with the draw loom in the 17th century which allows to make patterns.
Louis XIV launched the fashion for Lyon silks in Versailles and soon throughout Europe.

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Lyon's greatest century was undoubtedly the 16th century: 60,000 inhabitants, a European trading platform, relations with the Mediterranean countries, the North of France, the Rhineland and Switzerland. At the same time, the city has a large number of silk weaving factories.

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Under the First Empire (1804-1814) and the Restoration (1814-1830), the silk trade made Lyon a prosperous city. It is thanks to the will of Napoleon Bonaparte who imposes the use of Lyon silks in all the courts of Europe and encourages the use of the loom of Joseph-Marie Jacquard (1752-1834).


From 1800 to 1848, the number of weaving looms increased from 6,000 to 60,000. The silk workers (or "Canuts") settled on the hill of Croix-Rousse, which then became "the working hill. ”, As opposed to“ the hill that prays ”(Fourvière).

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High-ceiling, well-lit housing allows for better work on tall looms. We install the private area in the back part of the apartment.

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Between 1820 and 1850, the region of Lyon-Givors-St Etienne was the first French industrial region. In 1824, the first French railway was installed there, linking Andrézieux to Saint-Etienne, then St Etienne to Lyon in 1832. From 1850, the railways, especially the Lyon-Marseille line, monopolized the traffic of goods.

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However, after 1830, the silk industry went through a serious crisis. Despite the many social innovations (first "Conseil des Prud'hommes" in 1806, first mutual aid fund, "true and social commerce" in 1835 which is the first French mutualist grocery store), work is often lacking, wages do not allow to live. The Canuts revolted for the first time in November 1831 against the manufacturers, then a second time in 1834. It is from these popular uprisings, harshly repressed, that the motto “Live while working or die while fighting” was born.

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To find out more, visit the page of the Lyon association, Soierie Vivante

Land of weavers

logo terre de tisseurs, terre d'excellence

"Terre de Tisseurs, Terre d'Excellence" is a program for the enhancement and development of tourism in the Montagnes du Matin, focusing on heritage and textile know-how. Initiated in 2012 by the former Communes of Communes of Balbigny and Collines du Matin, with the support of the Montagnes du Matin Tourist Office and the two museums in the area (Museum of Weaving and Silk in Bussières and Museum of La Cravate et du Textile de Panissières), the first discussions are carried out with referents from each municipality, “ambassadors” of their territory and “memories” of their village.

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These reflections lead to the installation of interpretation panels in 2014. In each municipality of the device, village entrance panels are installed, a town center panel retracing the history of the village, and significant interpretation panels. an important building, often linked to textiles.

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focus terre de tisseurs

Tie and Textile Museum

The museum is located in Panissières in a former canvas factory built in 1856. From the boss's former office to the garden, via the factory, discover the history of textiles: damask, bluter gauze, silk and tie.

7 rue Jacquard 42360 Panissières

04 77 26 23 46

Hat Museum Workshop

The Atelier-Musée du Chapeau welcomes you to the La Chapellerie site. Come and discover the last great witness of the hat-making activity of Chazelles-sur-Lyon restored in the spirit of the factory and turned towards creation.

31 rue Martouret 42140 Chazelles-sur-Lyon

04 77 94 23 29

House of Grenadières

In the heart of the village of Cervières, come and meet a museum that is unique in France: the Maison des Grenadières, a workshop and museum of gold thread embroidery, testifies to a specific secular history of Haut-Forez.

Le Bourg 42440 Cervières

04 77 24 98 71

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