The Gobelins wee a family of dyers who became well known in the 15th century. In the early 1600, King Henri IV bought or rented factory space, and the famous manufacture (factory) was built at what is now Avenue des Gobelins #42. The family became the royal suppliers of tapestries. There was also a foundry where many statues located in Versailles were made. Today the old building survives, and there are occasional tours and exhibitions organized for the public. Behind the original factory there are several more modern buildings where a limited number of tapestries is still produced for the official government offices. The avenue itself is a wide street with lots of beautiful houses, squares and parks. It goes on to Place d’Italie with the strange modern structure on it. If you ever veer off occasionally into a side street, you are sure to see some medieval houses including Villa des Gobelins. There are also large green parks with lovely flower beds and children’s playgrounds. In some places the streets go up or down, so the climb back may be quite steep.
If you want to visit the old factory, be sure to check the times first. At present it’s closed for visitors till May 4.