Paris of the Artisans
A Visit to Guy Collin
Rue Charlot is a only stone’s throw away from Vieille du Temple but it’s a world apart : gone are the pleasures of window-shopping for outrageously priced sneakers and the competing luxury crêpe restos, the bobos staring into space while their spoiled infants scream holy murder in the park behind the Picasso. Fashionistas rule ! Charlot is different, with its somber courtyard for the Armenian church, its dozen gloomy, historic hôtels and passageways and, when you make it to the top, just short of Bretagne, the side entrance to Paris’ longest running local market, Enfants Rouges. But we are down at the other end, where we can’t help noticing an unusual site.
Unusual in this day and age, when Paris, like all the great cities that have accepted the gifts of the Guiding Hand of the market, the old artisans have been chased out by high rents and that restless desire for civic improvement. It’s a crusade.
Here is the workshop of Guy Collin, Paris-born luthier, a man who works an old physical trade that goes against the grain of the new Start-Up Paris. Let’s step inside.
This entry is only the briefest stub for an article, and indeed series, I’ve wanted to get to for a long time : portraits of the artisans of Paris, the men and women who work in the arts, loosely defined, that make the city what it is. I visit Guy Collin from time to time at his shop on Charlot where I’ve learned a good deal about wind instruments, naturally ! and about his life as well. I’ll have to transcribe some of our tapes and do a bit more research, so for now it’s photos for Riff’s paying subscribers, a bonus and an advance on the full story.
Hope you enjoyed this installment of Continental Riffs, where we write about Paris and France, from an unusual perspective - the human one. Basic subscriptions are so inexpensive, they’re free…! Of course there are goodies for those pay Substack’s minimum allowable. At 30 Euros or dollars a year, you can even yell at the editor.
Continental Riffs is reader-supported. New posts appear every week. Essays and free croissants (when you arrive) for paid subscribers.