Last week i went to Croix Rousse, Lyon as i heard it was a great place to explore, as it had a really rich history based around the silk industry. I found some beautiful views of the city, but failed to really appreciate the area and find the so called traboules (secret passage ways) that make this area so special. So this week i decided to take a tour. I signed up for the Lyon City Card, and spent Saturday making the most of my 21 euro investment.
Lyon tourist office provides many tours, and most are free with the Lyon City Card otherwise this tour would have cost 12 euros. The tour started in Place de la Croix-Rousse out side the metro station. On a Saturday morning Place de la Croux-Rousse is a great place to visit, there was a market, and lots of cafes spilling on to the square. The square is dominated in the middle by the Statue of Jacquard, who invented an easier loom system which enabled the silk workers to produce more at lower cost.
Our tour guild, took us down the main street, explaining how the building around here were purpose built for the silk workers. The ceilings were build extra high (4m), to house the looms with extra large windows facing the south, to give light to work by. In the 19th Century silk workers worked at home rather than worked in factories. Each apartment (room) would have housed a whole family, 7-15 people, making this one of the most densely populated districts of Europe.
We took a shorts cut through a narrow passages.
Admired the town planning, that required two levels of housing, so the silk workers had maximum light.
We then descended the hill heading towards Lyon.
While descending the hill, we passed through, the traboules which make this area so special. The entrances are very nondescript, and this is why i had so much trouble, first time around.
Through these nondescript doors, we got to walk the path of many silk-workers delivering their goods to the traders in central Lyon. There are open staircases and passage ways and even very forward thinking (at the time) communal toilets, that were build, into the apartments.
We then descended into Lyon, to learn a bit more about silk industry history, and to a visit to silk printing workshop. Of course i was in heaven. Anything fabric and colour related and they have got my attention. We visited L'Atelier de Soierie, a silk printing company just off the Place des Terreaux. There they use two main techniques to colour the fabric: hand screen printing and hand painting. They are the last silk workshop left in Lyon. My camera died at this point, so these are all mobile pics.