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Textiles in Lyon

View of the Saône River, Lyon. Photograph by Daphne Birdsey

I am currently traveling as a Museum representative on a Travel with the Met program Dukes, Popes & Painters: Lyon to Arles aboard MS AmaDagio. This morning we arrived in Lyon to spend the day before we begin a seven-night cruise along the Saône and Rhône rivers. The weather was beautiful and my fellow travelers and I enjoyed getting to know this ancient (some parts date back to the Romans!) and lovely city. Lyon is the second-largest metropolis in France, after Paris, and the center of town is particularly special as it is flanked by the two major rivers that we will see on our trip.

Left: Textile Museum, Lyon. Right: Ikat textile on view in the Textile Museum. Photographs by Daphne Birdsey

Lyon is known for its rich history of silk production, and we visited the Textiles Museum, housed in the former governor's mansion, which displays materials from as early as the Coptic Egyptian period, starting in the second century, up to the mid-twentieth century. There are some especially fetching, luxuriously embroidered designs from the French monarchy, including Marie-Antoinette's favorite (see photo, above right), which is a type of Ikat. The collection reminded me of the extraordinary exhibition Interwoven Globe, currently on view at the Met. You don't have to travel to France to see some of these amazing textiles that have linked the East and West for centuries!

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