In Hérault, between the Causse du Larzac and the Languedocian plain, Lodève is considered to be the gateway to the Mediterranean. At the foot of the Larzac plateau, where sheep farming shaped the landscape and remains an important activity, Lodève became a leading centre for the textile industry in the 18th and 19th centuries, thanks to the patronage of the Cardinal de Fleury, Louis XV’s Prime Minister, who was born in Lodève, as well as its position at the confluence of two rivers.

Its many wool processing and weaving workshops thus supplied most of the army’s uniforms. Its architectural treasures, which earned it the label of “Ville d’Art et d’Histoire” (“Town of Art and History”) are a legacy of this golden age. This glorious past was revived in 1966 with the creation of the National Carpet Workshop of the Savonnerie Manufactory, the only annex of the Gobelins Manufactory. Exceptional carpets are woven there on high-warp looms, keeping alive a technique that’s over 4 centuries old; these works are used to decorate the palaces of France. Today the town has just over 7,500 inhabitants.

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