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“Beautiful and interesting”

Manufacture Nationale des Gobelins
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Paris Off-the-Beaten-Track Tour by Mercedes 280SE
Ranked #480 of 1,120 things to do in Paris
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Owner description: The National Furniture Administration and the National Tapestry and Carpet Manufactories have brought together at the Gobelins site four historic institutions that date back to the 17th century: The National Furniture Collection, the Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory, The Beauvais Tapestry Manufactory (some of the workshops are also located in Beauvais), and La Savonnerie Carpet Manufactory.The exhibition space known as "La Galerie des Gobelins" welcomes temporary exhibitions. GOBELINS TAPESTRY MANUFACTORY History Since 1662, when Louis XIV’s finance minister Jean-Baptiste Colbert decided to bring together all of the Parisian weaving and tapestry workshops as well as those set up in Maincy by Nicolas Fouquet in one location, the Gobelins Tapestry Manufactory has continued to play a key role in the history of tapestry. The workshop was named after a family of dyers, the Gobelins, who did business on the banks of the Bievre starting in the mid-15th century. Charles Le Brun, First Painter to Louis XIV, was the manufactory’s first director. He allowed not only painters and tapestry makers, but also goldsmiths, metal casters, engravers, and cabinetmakers to set up workshops at the Gobelins site. Under Le Brun’s supervision, the extraordinary tapestries produced at the manufactory, which were designed for the homes of French royalty and as diplomatic gifts, earned international renown that has survived for more than three centuries.
Useful Information: Stairs / lift, Lockers / storage, Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for young children
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7 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Beautiful and interesting”
Reviewed 24 November 2011

My family and I visited in sept 2011. The tour included a visit of the area and as we walked, we learned about the history of tapestries. We also visited the manufacturing area and saw tapestries being made. It was incredible. Seeing people working by hand, in such detail, in this modern age is a joy. Makes you appreciate all the tapestries you see in other museums in Paris all the more as you realise the work and effort involved in each square inch!
Worth every penny!

8 Thank MillMil
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
New Orleans, Louisiana
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203 reviews
33 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Very interesting - wish there was an English tour”
Reviewed 11 November 2011

First off, I am not sure why this is listed in the shopping section of Paris Trip Advisor.... This is only a museum..... Not much shopping to be done, the requisite gift store does exist, but it is mostly very big coffee table books, and not even all that many of them - they just surround the cash register.....

The tour was in French only. I got the gist of it. Obviously my French vocabulary does not include the precise words having to do with weaving and sewing, etc, but having the real looms in front of you helps to understand....

I was disappointed that you can not see the dyeing process - too chemical the docent said. And you can't see them restoring the damaged ancient tapestries.... I would have wanted to see that, too. BUT, you do see them making the carpets and the tapestries. Amazing.

If I understood correctly, these weavers work for the French government and only work for the government. None of the works are ever sold to a private collector. I wasn't sure how they determine what the subject matter will be - we saw lots of abstract designs. The tapestry weavers were actually making a tapestry of a collection of 50 or so digital photographs. The colors were incredibly vibrant.

I understood (to be taken with a grain of salt as my French has holes...) that it takes 4 years in their school to become a weaver of rugs or tapestries. They test the incoming students for color perception, attention to detail, etc. The weavers work a typical 35 hour work week.... We didn;t see all that many people working, but clearly there are a lot of looms - so lots of things can be produced simultaneously. It can take years to make one piece. We saw a rug on which three people were working simultaneously.

So, except for the dyeing process, it didn't appear that there were newer techniques since the inception.... The source material - digital photos in the one case - are new, but not all the work.

Again, I am sorry to have missed the restoration work. I was told there might be a day in September when the government opens all buildings to the public and it can be seen then. I will have to do some research on that.

It cost me 11 euros. I don't think there are many tours during the day - I arrived at 1:15 and was told the next tour wasn't until 3. I tried doing some research on line, but I was not successful (at least in my understanding of the schedule.) They had an exhibit in their museum space.

Visited November 2011
10 Thank Alexandra7457
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
A TripAdvisor Member
“An excellent museum”
Reviewed 29 April 2006

I visited the Gobelins factory museum while in Paris recently (April 2006) and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
I went with my French friend and we joined a guided tour which was in French, so it helps to be accompanied by a French person.
We were told about the history of the Gobelin factory and we saw the tapestries being made on huge looms. Most of the patterns were extremely complexed and I was really impressed by the artistry involved in the weaving.
We saw students who learned the art of making tapestries over a period of 4 years.

We were allowed to ask them questions and photos were allowed without a flash. These beautiful tapestries are not for sale. The artists make and repair tapestries and carpets for the Chateaux in France and for the government buildings. They are some of the most beautiful pieces of art I have seen and the painstaking work involved in making them, finishing and preparing the end product was amazing.

20 Thank A TripAdvisor Member
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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