Staircases and Compagnons du Devoir

I found two articles that seemed interesting, focusing on woodworkers in France, and on a longstanding tradition of education, maybe similar to an apprenticeship in France, whom I understand are called ‘compagnons’.

The first article published in Atlas Obscura, is on this cool collection of miniature staircases, done by the compagnons:

This second article talks about Macron’s recent visit with his education ministers, to fulfill a promise to the organization:

If I do purchase an apartment, its 300-year-old staircase needs to be updated. I’m wondering how much they charge… :slight_smile: It would be great to get the benefit of such wonderful workmanship and a beautiful staircase, and maybe to watch them work. Probably out of my price range but still.

Hi Mary… yes, it is fascinating… I imagine it will take a craftsman to do whatever is necessary on your “piece of history”… :relaxed:

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Incidentally… what is wrong with the staircase… do you have any photos ??

The Compagnons du Devoir are the absolute top du top for apprenticeships, they organise training and a ‘tour de France’ for those they select, after 2 or 3 years the apprentice has to make the chef d’œuvre, which is what your mini staircase is. It is very demanding but fantastic training.
Of course there are other apprenticeships but the CduD are the Ivy League as it were :wink: nobody but the compagnons can call himself a compagnon.

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Hi Stella, I will do so; I confess I’m jumping the gun, as I haven’t yet purchased. I’m waiting for a ‘clean bill of health’ on the property’s first-ever SAUF assessment for tout a la gout. If that works out then I’m signing the papers and so fingers crossed. To describe for now, it’s not a fancy staircase, it’s a narrow, back-of-the-house three-story staircase for a small apartment; but the lovely old wood is worth restoring. Definitely will send pics if it becomes mine. Thanks for suggesting.

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Oh Mary…this does sound exciting… fingers and toes crossed… :relaxed::relaxed::relaxed:

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Thanks Véronique, so it does seem that you can use the term compagnon to mean apprentice, or it seems, journeyman? Journeyperson…

They are journeymen apprentices but of a very specific type. The Compagnons are the masters ie timeserved expert ones.


Sorry but I can’t resist sharing a giggle over this. I think it should say tout-à-l’égout (literally “all down the sewer”). “Tout a la gout” means “everything has taste”. Which I’m sure it does, but I really wouldn’t want to taste what we’re talking about here… :face_vomiting:

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Well said Anna… we could all do with a good laugh (in friendly fashion) after reading News Headlines etc…:relaxed::relaxed:

Mary… I still do write stuff down “as it sounds” (meaning to check it out later, if I remember)… anyone seeing the scribbles in my notebook would have hysterics…:rofl::rofl:

We are very lucky to have had an oak staircase designed and hand made by a young time served Compagnon who has also represented France is some competitions. It is due to be fitted in the next couple of weeks and we can’t wait to see it in place.

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and we can’t wait to see the photos… which I do hope you will share with us… :relaxed::relaxed:

I have two made to measure oak staircases crafted by a local artisan. I don’t know where he did his apprenticeship but in his house he has a beautiful wooden model of a Cinderella type carriage that he made during that time.

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I will :slight_smile: