In the cellar of a former glove factory, a museum celebrates centuries of traditional glove-making. The building once heaved with cutting and sewing sounds, but today, it houses an unusual collection of old gloves, machines, and tools of the trade.
Since the Middle Ages, Grenoble has been a world center for artisanal glove-making. Its location in the mountains of southeastern France, where farmers raise goats, gave locals a ready source of kidskin. In the 19th century, a craftsman named Xavier Jouvin helped transform the art of glove-making into a global industry. A bust of Jouvin sits near the museum entrance.
Two of Jouvin’s achievements stand out: a classification table and an “iron hand,” both of which are on display at the museum. Also on display are numerous sewing machines, a press, and a variety of gloves that give an insight into the fashion of the times. The museum was founded by the inventor’s great-great grandson, Maurice Rey-Jouvin.
The museum is close to two other glove-related sites: just a few meters away, along a cobblestone street, stands a statue of Xavier Jouvin. From there, you can see the Isère River, as well as the French Alps on both sides. Ganterie Lesdiguières- Barnier, the boutique and workshop of France’s last remaining kidskin glovemaker, Jean Strazzeri, is located across the river in the city center.
Know Before You Go
The museum is open to the public by appointment, so visitors should call before they go. Entry costs 5€.