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Welcome to the museum's 400m² of renovated galleries. Models, machines, interactive terminals, documentary film, audio installations and information panels take you on a trip back in time to silk milling.
Silkworm farming, from eggs to moths and the processing of silk was once part of life throughout Ardèche.
Once spun, the thread goes through a process known as silk-throwing before it can be woven. Invented long ago by the Chinese, this technique, aimed at twisting the silk, was later improved by the Italians in the 13th century and finally honed to perfection by the French in the 18th century by Vaucanson who brought the expertise to the area, namely at Pont d’Ucel, at the Royal Manufacture. Several workshops were built at the time - this museum is one of them.
The presence of manual workers and managerial staff can almost be felt in this former silk processing mill, with its impressive, authentic collection of antique tools and equipment.
The visit provides a fascinating insight into life in these workshops, with a focus on child labour and the daily lot of the hundreds of young women who were made to leave home to toil in dismal conditions throughout their short lives.
This museum is unique in Europe and visiting it turns out to be a soul-stirring experience.
30 minutes from Aubenas, 20 minutes from Vals-les-bains and Neyrac-les-Bains, Thermal Baths centres of renown.
The museum is nestled in lush natural surroundings, on the bank of the Fontaulière River.
Very pleasant outing for the whole family. Picnic area. Gift shop.
Close to a small shop and café serving hot drinks and real ales brewed just next-door. Local organic produce for sale including bread, baked before your very eyes in a wood-fired oven on Friday afternoons.