As a young man Louis XIV chief minister Jean
Baptiste Colbert spent some time working
here in the offices of the Mascrany silk
company, whence the name Place Colbert.
The buildings could not be more typically
"canut". Flat and ornament-free,
the façades have the numerous, charasteristically
high windows needed to ensure enough light
for choosing the right colours of silk thread.
While tall -close to 20 meters - these buildings
have only four storeys: the high ceilings
provided the space necessary for the imposing
looms invented by Jacquard.
The loom took up almost all the available
space in the workshop, leaving the "canut"
and his family limited, cupboard-like space
for eating and sleeping.