French costume museums are among those places where you can find hundreds of authentic historical outfits from the 18th and 19th centuries. Also, France is famous for the French lace, elaborate underwear pieces worn by the royals and court ladies, exquisite embroidery patterns on court dresses, and huge varieties of regal accessories. France was the trendsetter in fashion long before Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Coco Chanel, and Pierre Cardin. So, here’s a list of costume and folk museums where you can find French national clothing and various vintage fashionable outfits.
Musée de la Mode et du Textile (Museum of Fashion and Textiles). It is located in Louvre, Paris, France. Among the exhibits are over 80,000 items, including 16,000 traditional and historical costumes, 35,000 fashion accessories from different eras, etc. This museum exhibits pieces of clothing from the French Regency period to the present, samples of textile from the 7th century to this day, medieval tapestries, and many more.
Palais Galliera, also known as Musée Galliera or Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris. It is located in Paris, France. It’s a fashion museum. Among the exhibits are vintage costumes, historical garments, royal and court clothes, intricate vintage underwear items, a ton of fashionable accessories from various periods, old photographs, and so on. There are about 70,000 museum pieces in store, including clothing from the 18th century to the present.
Le musée des Tissus et des Arts Décoratifs (Textile Arts Museum). It is located in Lyon, France. This museum has one of the biggest collections of textiles in the world – about 2,5 million items. Some of the exhibits date back 4,000 years. Part of the exhibition is dedicated to the history of Lyon's silk industry. Except for textile samples, there are traditional and historical garments and accessories, vintage jewelry, and other items regarding fashion and costume history.
Musée du textile et des costumes de Haute-Alsace. It is located in Parc de Wesserling, Husseren-Wesserling, France. This museum exhibits textile samples (local and imported), weaving looms, spinning tools, vintage clothing, historical costumes, etc. There are various vintage handicraft tools used for spinning, dyeing, weaving, drawing, board printing, and other folk crafts. The textiles stored in this folk museum date back as far as the 18th century.
Musée du Costume at Chateau Chinon (Château-Chinon costume museum). It is located in Château-Chinon, France. The collection of this museum consists of over 5,000 pieces from the late 17th century to the 1970s. It includes vintage costumes, historical clothing, folk and fashion accessories, a variety of vintage kid costumes, baby cribs, samples of French lace, and etc.
Musée de la Mode. It is located in Albi, France. Among the exhibits are various costumes from the 18th century to the 1970s, samples of embroidery, prints, and textiles, vintage lace items, accessories from different eras, etc.
Musée d'Eventail (Fan Museum) or L'Atelier Hoguet Musée de l'Éventail. It is located in Paris, France. This private museum is dedicated to fans and fan-making. Among the exhibits are a large variety of hand fans made from different materials (bone, ivory, mother-of-pearl, wood, lace, paper, feathers, etc), in different shapes and sizes. There are over 2,500 fans from the 18th-20th century.
Centre National du Costume de Scene (National Center of Stage Costume). It is located in Moulins, France. This curious museum is dedicated to stage costumes and sets, and this is the first museum on Earth that shows only stage costumes and scenography. In its collection, there are over 10,000 theatre, opera, and ballet costumes from different periods and areas.
Château de Javarzay. It is located in Chef-Boutonne, France. This museum is situated in an old castle. And it has a rich collection of different folk and historical headpieces gathered at the headdress museum. There are about 400 items in this collection. They are vintage headdresses and traditional pieces from several French regions.
Musée des Lunettes et Lorgnettes Pierre Marly. It is located in Paris, France. This museum is dedicated to spectacles. The collection consists of about 3,000 eyeglasses (lorgnettes, glasses, telescopes, and binoculars) from different eras and places. Among the most interesting exhibits are 13th-century glasses, Inuit snow glasses made from wood, spectacles for animals, etc.
Note! If you’re a museum that exhibits traditional costumes, folk clothing crafts, or historical clothes, jewelry, and accessories, and you’re not on the list, please write us in the comment section or via the contact page. We will gladly add your museum here with short info about it.