It is during the reign of Francis I, in 1536, that the Silk Industry is created. It comprises of small independent workshops situated in the city centre (Around Place Bellecour, Hotel Dieu and Old Lyon).
The story is brought to life in the heart of Lyon, which at that time has full control on the import of raw silk in France. The vessels unload silk of incomparable quality on the banks of the Saone and the Rhone. It then goes from workshop to workshop, from hand to hand, from yarn to finished fabric. Hence the Rhone-Alpes region has more than 80 jobs related to the textile industry.
In 1667, Colbert regulates the silk industry, which governs the expected work quality and tariffs to be charged.
Thanks to these social advancements and mastery of many skills, Lyon becomes the capital of silk in the late 17th century and radiates worldwide. Rich fabrics are then made to convert various royal residences, including Versailles.
Several well-known names in Lyons has allowed the development of the textile industry in France, such as that of Joseph-Marie Charles, the inventor of the famous weaving loom, called “Jacquard loom”. Born into a family of master-maker, he develops -in 1801 – the new mechanised technique that would require the intervention of a single worker.
It is during the 19th century that manufacturers set up on the slopes and plateau of la Croix-Rousse after the “Canut revolt”. Thanks to this revolt, the Canuts will benefit from better working conditions. During the mid-nineteenth century there are about 8,000 workshop foremen in Lyon, 40,000 companions and 100,000 weaving looms, half of which is set up in la Croix-Rousse.