Chazelles-sur-Lyon, Five centuries of hat-making tradition

This small city in Monts du Lyonnais faced a few centuries of prosperity thanks to fur-felt hat making – rabbits, wild rabbits and hares fur.

The legend tells felt’s manufacture dates back to the Crusades’ period. Historical sources say hat-makers used to work during the 16th century.

The middle of the 19th century is the end of hand working. Industrial era and mechanisation arrived in the process of hat making.

At the beginning of the 20th century, Chazelles-sur-Lyon was in its apogee and became the main place where people produced luxury felt hat in France (there were 28 factories and about 2’500 workers in 1930). Its renown was national and at the same time international with brands like Fléchet, France or Morreton.

The changing in fashion in the post-war period marked the end of this industry. The last factory of Chazelles and France closed its door in 1997.

What could be more natural for the city to preserve the memory of its rich past, on a site of historical interest ?

From the Museum to the Atelier-Musée du Chapeau

The Hat Museum opened in 1983. It’s now the Atelier-Musée du Chapeau. Its creation dates back to the period of the decline of this traditional and local mono-industry. Its purpose is to keep the hat making memory and safeguarding of savoir-faire. The Museum is certified “Musée de France”.

The site « La Chapellerie » welcomes you

Come and see a former hat-making factory (classified as Historical Monument) in Chazelles-sur-Lyon, restored in the spirit of the factory and turned to contemporary creations.

L’Atelier-Musée du Chapeau

The museography was thinking like a conversation between collections and the building.

Workshops of creators


creates evolving and comfortable clothes for Children. They are made in bio fabrics.

Catherine Garret

creates jewellery and leather accessories.

Laurent Karagueuzian

painter artist.

Valérie Lefevre

ceramist artist

Lucie Leonet

offers to guide you on marketing and communication stuff.

Charlotte Odin

creates colourful and graphic jewels.

Aurore Schiberlein

graphic designer and a decorator.

The Salle de la Foule and the Auditorium

A place dedicated to cultural and professional events with a 90 seats auditorium and a big event room.

These rooms are managed by the Communauté de Communes Forez-Est : +33 4 77 54 28 99.

A few dates…


Museum’s creation on the initiative of the archaeological group from the MJC (Home of Youngster and Culture) of Chazelles-sur-Lyon.


Opening of three new rooms for temporary exhibitions


Realization of an expansion in order to show the work of the formier (the person who make form for hats) with the reconstitution of Mr. Moureau’s workshop; manufacture of straw hats with furniture and tools of the firm Paul Bonnet, from Montbrison; and the work of the milliner tanks to the reconstitution of a workshop and a salon.


A professional training centre is put in place in order to hand down savoir-faire of fashion and hat making. The purpose was also to overcome the lack of offer in Europe.


Creation of a shop area.


Organisation of the biennial of International Hats’ Art Competition in order to highlight the current creations inside the hat area and to contribute to renewing it.


Creation of a Hat maker-milliner career in order to keep savoir-faire and establishment of a workshop included in the museum.


“Atelier-Musée du Chapeau” became a registered trend mark at the Patent Office, formalising the economic mission at the service of the promotion of hat-making heritage.


Development of the workshop by repairing 10 machines.


Launch of the Autumn-Winter Collection with a fashion show inside the museum.


April 7th 2013 : opening of the new Atelier-Musée on the new site named La Chapellerie.