France Tapestry Tour

Visiting The Lady and the Unicorn

Visiting The Lady and the Unicorn

I was lucky enough to be able to join a tapestry tour of France with Cresside Collette in May. Fittingly, the first place we visited was the Musée de Moyen Age* in Paris to see The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries (La Dame a la licorne). Unfortunately most of the museum was closed for renovations and I was disappointed we couldn’t see the Life of St. Stephen tapestry. But I was grateful that the Unicorn tapestries were on display and suspect they are a major draw for this museum. They are displayed in a one large room. Each of the six tapestries is between about 3.5 and 4.5 meters square.

There are six known tapestries in this series. They were probably woven around 1500 and were discovered in the mid-19th century in the château de Boussac in central France. They were in poor condition and the Musée de Moyen Age (the Cluny) purchased them in 1882. The tapestries were commissioned by the Le Viste family whose coat of arms is seen in each of the tapestries. A set of tapestries as fine as these would have cost a literal fortune and only someone with great wealth could have afforded them.

France Tapestry Tour 2019, Episode 9, Aubusson Day 2

France Tapestry Tour 2019, Episode 9, Aubusson Day 2

In the continuing video blogs of my trip to France, this is episode 9.
The second day we were in Aubusson was a national holiday. But the museums were open so we were able to visit the Cité International Museum of Tapestry. This museum seems to go by several different names. But while in Aubusson I mostly heard it and it’s administration of tapestry commissions in the area referred to as “the Cité.”

In the video blog below I talk about being recognized on a back street from my Instagram feed, seeing some wonderful tapestries including the Tolkien tapestries at the Cité International Museum of Tapestries, and there are some video clips of other favorite tapestry experiences. Enjoy it!

Weaving poppies in France

Weaving poppies in France

Travel weaving is one of my favorite activities. It does turn out that when you’re on a tour and you have a lot to see, the only time to weave is on the bus. We had a couple days with long bus rides and in that time I managed to finish one small tapestry diary piece.

The French countryside in late May was bursting with flowers. There were huge fields of red poppies along the roads, some with purple flowers mixed in. It is pretty hard to take a good photo from a moving bus, but one can certainly weave a tapestry of them which is exactly what I did. Of course one never quite has the colors one wants in such a situation, but it was a fun weaving anyway.

France Tapestry Tour, Episode 6: Angers and Lurcat

France  Tapestry  Tour, Episode 6: Angers and Lurcat

While in Angers, we also went to the Musée Jean Lurçat. The museum houses his large tapestry cycle, Le Chant du Monde (Song of the World) which was his response to the Apocalypse Tapestry. Though I think anyone having a response to the Apocalypse tapestry is a bit ballsy, seeing these massive tapestries was fantastic.

Below is the 6th episode in my video blog. After that, some more thoughts about the Lurçat tapestries.