July 19, 2022

France - The village of old crafts in Meuse - Vieux Metiers Azannes Museum

I am a bit in a hurry to write this post, because only the next weekend you can visit the "museum". Also, it's not quite a museum is more of someone's home turned into a museum showcasing old crafts from the village world. Otherwise, if I've convinced you, keep an eye on their website or their social media to see the next events.

It is rather close to Luxembourg, if you go towards Verdun. So it is doable. And despite the very crowded parking, the village did not seem that crowded. Let's put it in another form, after a pandemic, I haven't felt in any way awkward. 

Also, because of the size of the place (17 hectares) and the limited number of buildings, I think that without the open days, the village would feel a bit deserted. But, during the open days, all the crafts showcased in the village are live, you can make (and buy) bread, tarts, you can see how the hats are made, how the Christmas creche is made, how textiles are made and washed, you can print stuff, you can experience a plethora of agricultural works, including beekeeping, and also discover how the people who were doing those crafts lived. 

The village was opened in 1990 and although I am old enough to remember the 90's, since then, 32 years have passed. You can read about its history here and also see the way it evolved. 

It is very child friendly and buggy friendly, from the entrance you have a place where you can get a cold water, something to eat and ice-cream and on a hot day like the one we visited the museum you don't have to worry you will not be hidrated.

The entrance fee is 16 euro, a bit much, but the prices inside are minimal (1 euro a water, 2.5 for a goffre, 1.5 for a coffee). 

I hope I've convinced you to give it a try, if not, here are a few pictures.

First craft, The Hatter 
I was watching a lady making a straw hat
Ilinca looking at some rather creepy old dolls 
The school was closed, as we are on holidays after all, but it looked cosy and some of the benches looked familiar 
The embroiderer. 
I'm not sure it is an official craft, as I'm not sure people in older ages would go to some specific person to embroider stuff, but there is this embroiderer with the feminine embroideress; someone who ornaments with needlework. 
I know in Belgium there were and still are lacemakers, which this lady also did.
The horse was doing some agricultural job, maybe mincing the seeds, I don't know, but as I am essentially a vampire afraid of sun, I did not dare to venture closer to find out. It looked like the horse was on a treadmill (look into what a treadmill is and maybe, just maybe this is its ancestor). 
In one of the houses there was a family gathering. I felt a bit awkward looking at them, but they gave me butter and cheese and next door there was a bread oven... well you can guess what I did.
The girls and I in front of a lovely house which I believe was the house of the Weaver. It had around it all the steps from sheep wool, to thread, to a loom and finally a lot of washing machines.  
The washing part of the house
The washings hanging on to dry

Although I looked at the textiles, where I found them, what were the chances that the first embroidered piece I found had some carnations on it? If you are new here, my name in Turkish is carnation and after knowing that, I consider it to be my happy flower.
Watching the washing happen. Say that really quick!
The blacksmith
Part of the museum
Speaking of embroidery, I payed attention to the textiles, as you already know me. In Romanian we call these wall pieces, "peretare". They exist even today. I've liked this one in particular with two girls helping their mother cook.
I've spotted the embroidered piece from the previous picture on a place that sold goffres, but it was back in the shop, where I had no access. So I've asked someone to take a picture for me and they kindly let me inside pointing out to me the margins of a shelf. I know a friend of mine who dreams of having shelves like this and I took a picture for her. Also, examining it closer, I feel this embroidery was machine made, but well ... when you look for brodeuse in French you are welcomed by a ton of pictures of machines, so I feel it's fair. 
A flax stays and a linen one
Closeup of the flax one as we all know how linen looks
Washings in the lavoir (the place where women would wash clothes).
I like that some of the villages in this area kept their old lavoirs and you can see them today. I wrote about one in Luxembourg, here
The Carnations
Another flax garment
Another embroidered piece. Told you I was looking for them. This one looked hand-made.
If we are in this region we cannot pass by without talking about lace and embroidery.
This looked to me like a sampler, a piece of embroidered cloth on which a young lady would showcase her embroidery skills. I've wrote about a collection of samplers from Scotland, here.
Loved this window
Bonus: once you cross the border into France, the landscape fills with sunflower fields (say that real quick!)

I am aware half of the museum is not in these pictures, but either we decided we were going to leave some things for our next visit, or it was too hot to even think about taking to phone out.

That's it folks! As always I am more active on my Instagram @mademoiselle.ralu please give me a sign if you make your way through the heat to visit this place.

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