The history of textile industry

The textile industry is closely linked to the history of Nîmes. Century after century, wool, cotton and then silk resulted in prosperity, growth and celebrity throughout Europe for Nîmes. Did you know that denim for jeans came from Nîmes?

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The history of textile industry

Denim jeans

Jeans are made of denim, none other than the descendant of serge from Nîmes, a speciality of the local textile industry dating back to the end of the Middle Ages.

Originally exported to the United States for wagon tarpaulins or sailcloth, the very strong denim cloth was soon used to make trousers.

Nîmes shawls

Silk shawls from Nîmes were very much in fashion in the nineteenth century throughout Europe. Everywhere—from rue Nationale to rue des Orangers—these shawls with cashmere patterns were woven on jacquard looms. Women's fashion changed at the end of the century and with it the physiognomy of industry in Nîmes.

Les tissus provençaux

The patterns of Provencal Fabric, also known as "Indiennes de Nîmes" are directly inspired from the cloth dealers' Oriental travels. Their colors came from natural pigments found in the surrounding countryside. Today, a few global brands still make this brightly colored traditional fabric.


This is a Provencal technique dating from the eighteenth century that consists of quilting and embroidering cotton items, wedding underskirts and bedspreads. The making of boutis is taught again today.