From its history to its transformation, Lainerie du Gévaudan tells all the secrets of wool. Where is she from ? Since when ? How does she feel? What can we do with it? How did it develop in the territory? Brief. What is its history, here, in Saugua country? Through its museum, its felting and hosiery workshops, its shop and the know-how of its employees who take pleasure in passing on their knowledge to visitors... wire by wire, Saugues wool and its history are revealed.

Unique wool know-how and traceability in France

The Lainerie du Gevaudan is more than just a museum. It is an associative company, a real anthill where every day small hands work and busy themselves with the transformation of wool. In Saugues, we felt, a cut, we sew, we make… We fill the shop on the ground floor with pretty woolen gifts “made in Haute-Loire”: flip-flops, slippers, hats, key rings, fashion accessories, poufs, soaps and other trivets… And we respond to hundreds of orders across France, even Europe.

For what ? Because here "we control the transformation of wool from one end of the chain to the other", emphasizes Pascal Lafont, director of Bruyère workshops who manage the Gévaudan wool mill with the support of many volunteers. From sheepskin to sweaters and washing (in the last wool washing company in France: the SARL Gévaudan wool wash in Saugues, with whom the woolen works) and felting. “We are the only ones who can provide this guarantee. We know where the wool comes from, we know where it has gone and we know where it is going…” Thanks to this, the order book is always full.

The last wool washing company in France is in Saugues

Fruit of the association of two entities, Les Ateliers de la Bruyère and SARL Laurent Laines (mattress), SARL Laines du Gévaudan washing was born in 2017. Patrick Laurent thus represents the 5e generation of this business, which was once a woolen mill. Even today, the company works with old machines (beginning of the XXe century, 50s and 70s), which make the laundromat so rare. Here, we process all types of wool: white, Noire du Velay, merino, Alpaca... With the Gévaudan wool factory, they are part of the Saugues Wool Division, which, despite competition from China and Eastern European countries, continues to highlight their know-how and develop this niche sector.

The Pôle Laine de Saugues: several companies (breeding, washing, weaving and felting) and a museum that combine past, present and future

It is one of the results of this famous Saugues Wool Division : museum space. Through him, the Gévaudan wool factory is also time travel. It takes us back to a time when wool was a mainstay of the local economy. An adventure made possible thanks to the involvement of volunteers who give their time and knowledge during guided tours and the support of local communities.

From room to room, we cross the centuries to discover the production of wool, up to the last processing units that still existed at the end of the XXe century : the Bouard and Laurent spinning mills and the Page hosiery. Three emblematic Saugues companies that worked for major knitting brands. Proof of the importance of this industry in the region, heir to ancestral know-how.

Temporary exhibitions that bring the wool museum back to the present

Before going back down to the shop, a temporary exhibition closes the visit. Highlighting the know-how of craftsmen from here and elsewhere, it adds a cultural and contemporary dimension to the historical museum. Each year has its own theme and exhibition! The opportunity to discover wool in all its forms. In 2023, the temporary exhibition “Felt Rugs, Traditions & Creations” explores the traditions of the nomadic peoples of Central Asia, from China to Syria. An exhibition for which the Ateliers de la Bruyère have put their heart into the work, since their carpets with Celtic motifs, in resonance with the Festival in Gévaudan, illustrate the exhibition of their contemporary creations.

Guided or self-guided tours at the heart of Gévaudan's woolen history for young and old

Although the Lainerie du Gévaudan is open throughout the year to free visits Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 13:30 p.m. to 16 p.m., as well as Wednesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., it also offers guided tours by reservation, thanks to 6 volunteer guides.

A children's journey, over the adventures of the little cat Chafil, the cat who dreams of becoming a herdsman, helps the children to follow the visit. "Discovery" courses in felt or weaving are also offered by the wool team on request.

Price: €4 per adult and €2 per child.

Open. Closes at 12:30 p.m.
7 Mont Mouchet road
43170 Saugues
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