The amazing Musée du Textile in Cholet
Discover the Musée du Textile (Textile Museum) in Cholet, located within the walls of an old laundry and designed in real style. The place recounts the town's industrial saga and immerses visitors in the atmosphere of workshops as they once were.
The authentic looms at the Musée du Textile
In the centre of its majestic room, christened Crystal Palace and bathed in light by the enormous glass ceiling, sit two looms from a bygone era... The tour of the Musée du Textile begins with a look at these authentic models – one hand-operated and the other mechanical – whose glory days were in the 19th century, when the region has some 12,000 machines of this type. They were operated by no less than 40,000 workers! In front of the audience, a specialist operates one of these huge machines, which used to weave linen, hemp and cotton.
Learn about the daily life of laundry workers
We then head for the droguerie, a kind of lab where the dyes used to decorate the canvases were prepared according to complex recipes. This is also where the baths were prepared for the first step of bleaching, whose purpose visitors can discover in an area featuring large vats... The meticulous recreation allows us to imagine the tough labour of the workers who toiled away in this steamy atmosphere. Further on, in the White room, the fabulous collections of household textiles show that the work here was not limited to the famous handkerchief!
Cholet: the capital of children's fashion
The Fashion room returns to a more recent past, when numerous brands emerged in the region in the mid-20th century. These included Newman and especially the labels for children, such as Catimini, IKKS and Jean Bourget. Don't even think about leaving the Musée du Textile without having a glance at the very latest loom, which still makes the legendary Cholet handkerchief! It's a great opportunity to discovery where it gets its emblematic red colour from...