The north of Vendée and around Cholet have been famous for their fabric production since the end of the XNUMXth century.

With the presence of many mills on the edge of the Sèvre Nantaise, the Vendée bocage is a privileged territory for the development of industry. Many villages specialize entirely in the weaving of linen and other fibers, which leads to the multiplication of modest houses. These houses are designed for family living and house a weaving loom.

Industrial past from 1800 to 1970

During the industrial revolution, the Vendée bocage experienced a strong economic boom, in particular thanks to the development of the textile industry and the arrival of the railway.

The Barbin Viaduct

So that the railway can reach the heart of the Vendée bocage, many structures have been built. Among them, one of the most spectacular is the Barbin Viaduct in Saint Laurent sur Sèvre, spanning the Sèvre Nantaise at a height of 38 metres.

Mallièvre, village of weavers

In this village, the omnipresent water contributed to the establishment of weavers and millers. Sixty sources have been counted on the hillside. The washhouse built on the edge of the Castle, supplies the gardens.

The Weaver's Cellar


Cugand was the most industrialized town in Vendée in the XNUMXth century. To promote trade, many mills and factories have been created in the Sèvre Valley. While the spinning of wool, hemp, linen and, later, cotton was carried out by village women working from home, weaving became the work of specialized craftsmen grouped mainly in the town.

The Fulling Mill

The sensitive natural area of ​​Cugand houses the remains of a fulling mill. Today, the fulling mill is the witness of the hydraulic exploitation of the river for the work of wool, it is besides the only mill which is still in working order.

Discover the reconstruction of two of the three fullers of the Gaumier mill, as well as the laundry room and the dyeing plant, allowing you to observe a woolen machine and understand how the dyeing of wool works. Several information spaces on wool work are present, with a historical presentation of the Sèvre and its mills, as well as the importance of roads and their role in channeling water.

The paper mill of Antière

The Antière factory is also a witness to the industrialization of Cugand. From the middle of the 1815th century, the mills made paper. Several families of master papermakers have used the site. After a restoration of the buildings in 1824, the mills began to be equipped with scrolling cylinders for the manufacture of paper pulp. In 3, the owners bought a first paper machine, with a wooden structure. 1870 years later, they import a new one from England: the paper industry begins. It was not until 1934, after the restructuring of the site and new constructions that the paper mill of Antière experienced significant development. The stationery stops in December XNUMX, however the site has always welcomed new businesses.

Hucheloup site

Located in Cugand, on the banks of the Sèvre Nantaise, a textile factory developed in the 1985th century. Production has evolved over time: wool spinning, weaving workshop, production of felt and drapery… The factory closed in XNUMX. Today a few buildings remain, which bear witness to the splendor of the past.

Of our time…

The Vendée bocage is a territory with excellent economic development, which has allowed the know-how to be maintained for several centuries.

Even today, the big luxury houses come to seek the local know-how of the Vendée bocage. Vuitton (LVMH company) notably has two twin workshops in Essarts-en-Bocage and Longchamp was established in the territory of the Pays de Pouzauges. The know-how has therefore continued, in the textile sector but also in leather goods. The group Apple Shoes anchored in La Gaubretière notably develops its luxury brand “Free Lance”. Inaugurated in 1995 in Cholet, the Textile and Fashion Museum looks back on the history of the textile industry and its techniques, allowing you to perfect your knowledge on the subject.

The Mulliez-Flory company

Since 1824, the company has been perpetuating know-how on a privileged site, in a green setting. It is located in Le Longeron, and has buildings on each side of the Sèvre Nantaise: Maine et Loire side and Vendée side. Specialized in professional textiles, they have a unique expertise in France of the entire chain of creation / manufacture and distribution of professional clothing.

In 1821, Mr. Bonnet Allion acquired the Gallard mill facilities. In 1824, a royal ordinance from Louis XVIII authorized him to transform the mill into a wool and cotton spinning mill. The Mulliez family acquired the Gallard site in 1917. In addition to manufacturing sheets, the company began to design and sell work clothes in 1974. In 2008, Mulliez merged with the Cholet company Flory.

Today, the turbine, driven by the driving force of water from the Gallard mill, produces 15% of the factory's electricity.

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