I mentioned in my email last week (which you only receive if you’re on my community list and this is where to click if you want to join the gang for tons of great free content to help you become a little bit French!) that I was about to enjoy a Fabulously French weekend and then share it with you in 4 steps, corresponding to the 4 pictures below:
Step 1 Thursday: Last week’s post When French & Asian Cuisines Meet (hence picture 1 of Tâm’s beautiful sweet creation)
Step 2 Friday: Yes picture number 2 is a gorgeous and pricey Hermès bag. Well, on Friday I got tons a free Hermès goodness and THAT’S WHAT WE ARE GOING TO TALK ABOUT THIS WEEK!
Step 3 & 4 Saturday & Sunday: International Jazz Festival in Vienne (France not Austria!) on picture 3 + Food & Art markets in Lyon on picture 4. These last 2 steps will come to you over the next 2 weeks so stay tuned!
Like I said, this week’s blog post is about Hermès and the gorgeous event they put on in Lyon last Friday, which I attended with my lovely friend Amandine because she works for Hermès! She doesn’t just “work” for them, she makes purses for them. She makes them, with her hands (no sewing machine oh no!) from A to Z! Such a skillful impressive artisan she is!
By the time we drop off Bruno & Sophie (my pups) at my mom’s in Vienne and we finally make it to Lyon, well, we’re hungry! So before going to our Hermès event called “Hermès Hors les Murs” (Hermès outside the walls) we hit the super famous Lyon street called rue Mercière… why is it famous?
Because it is filled with restaurants, literally one after the other, and of course I have my favorites. One of them is called Le Layon and let me tell you it never disappoints. (Yes I’m very fussy with my food!)
We enjoyed a delicious lunch, took a couple of silly selfies, and finally headed off to this stunning building.
It’s called La Bourse du Travail, which you will find in the heart of Lyon next to the métro Cordeliers.
We walked in, got our tickets, and finally entered the magical world of ancestral craftsmanship of Hermès. One of the rare French companies that still makes (I’m purposely not using the word manufactures) everything here, in France.
So we go in and it looks like this:
Booths were organized all around the room as you can see and each booth corresponded to one of Hermès’s profession or craft. In case you thought Hermès only made purses and silk scarves, you are in for a surprise!
The company was created by Thierry Hermès in 1837 in Paris and at first its activity focused on horse-riding.
Today they still make leather saddles and if you pay attention you’ll often spot the horse theme on their products.
My friend Amandine’s favorite for instance is Pegasus, or Pégase as we say in French!
Oh yes I forgot to mention, she’s also a horse-riding champion!
Mythology & Art have always mixed and got along so well, don’t you think?
But let’s go back to our different crafts besides the obvious bags & scarves. The concept of the event was to present one profession per booth with an artisan there to explain, the show, and sometimes to teach how they do their job, in order to promote and generate awareness about French artisanship and ancestry know-how. Isn’t that a brilliant concept???
I would have LOVED to make a video and interview the artisans but, as you can probably guess, only pictures were allowed. “Pas de vidéos s’il vous plaît” is what security told me… a couple of times he he oops! I tried!
But that’s ok I took pictures for you!
So there was a booth for saddles, watches, jewelry…
That’s the end piece of a giant rose gold and diamond bracelet… what did I tell you about the horse theme? Oh and yes, the jeweler adds every single tiny diamond by hand too and he showed us how he did it!
… drawing, rolling, printing…
1,500 hours to draw 1 design for 1 scarf! (the particular design she was showing us)
In French, the woman making these little rolls on the edge all around the scarf is called la roulotteuse (that’s the woman on the featured image at the very top of this blog post) and I could have watched her do this all day long!
The precision in her movements mesmerized me!
To give you an idea… 1 frame per color per scarf! The big blue thing you see is that frame! So if your scarf has 25 colors, someone makes 25 frames for this one design! I will never think Hermès scarves are expensive ever again I promise!
We also met and chatted with the artisans who made watches, who painted on china, who made ties, and of course… bags!
I have learned so much and asked a ton of questions to all the lovely and talented artisans I met at the event Hermès hors les murs in Lyon last Friday.
-how proud they all were of their work,
-how much respect they had for their brand, and
-how excited they were to share their world with us all.
It was fabulous understanding the amount of work that goes behind each of these stunning items and like I wrote above, it definitely gives a new perspective on the prices ha!
Merci Hermès! And yes, the entrance was free!
Now remember to stay tuned for Steps 3 & 4 Saturday & Sunday: International Jazz Festival in Vienne + Food & Art markets in Lyon. These last 2 steps will come to you over the next 2 weeks and I’ll have videos this time!