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Jean Paré, brother of Ambroise Paré who was a famous surgeon of the French King, was a trunk-maker (malletier) established in the 16th century closeby the Notre Dame cathedral of Paris. During the same era, at Brussels, Nicolas Gilbert, Augustin de Hofstadt Boel, and a few others, were trunkmakers purveyors to Emperor Charles the Fifth. 

Five centuries later a real fusion of knowledge and history took place. In the year 2017, Jean-Pierre Bal, the Belgian malletier who had sparked the rebirth of that profession in Belgium, and who also is active in higher eduction in France, created an authentic and binational malletier school where he teaches as well.   


The Ecole des Malletiers is, no more no less, a true renaissance. In order to learn the malletier profession - the manufacture by hand of travel trunks that is - one had, and since many decades already, to either be hired by a malletier company as an apprentice, or otherwise be driven by an enlightened, self-taught, and creative entrepreuneuiral spririt.


Monsieur Bal picked up the challenge, and recreated the 'classical' education of a very fine craftsmanship. He envisioned the structuring of the educational plateform, first and foremost a human one, like that of the ancient masters who taught in the frame of craftsmen's confraternities and guilds in the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, and into the Age of Enlightment. 


In Belgium the Ecole des Malletiers, tribute to Nicolas Gilbert, is already active. Its opening coincided with the 2018 European Year for Cultural Heritage. The school is the successor of the modest Belmal Conservatory that Mr. Bal had founded in 2008. The now 'new' Ecole offers programmes, courses, and workshops that lead towards the earning of a certificate or diploma of higher education.


In France the historical research work about Jean Paré is still in progress, and is being coordinated out of Paris, and Laval. The French arm of the Ecole des Malletiers is thus paying tribute to Jean Paré (note: le time benchmark common to Gilbert and Paré is the year 1530). 


Old view on Laval. One can see at the far right the roofs of Bourg Hersent, the hamlet where the Paré family members were born.


Within the micro-group Ecoles des Malletiers Paré - Gilbert, which also comprises the Belmal Collection, each unit will have its own role and specialty, and all within the vast domain that encompasses the design, the manufacture, or the restoration of travel trunks and antique travel requistes and equipment, and the design of far more contemporary luggage items, if not definitely futuristic ones. 


For more information please check the centralised contact page for the schools and Belmal museum collection. The same applies for contacting as of 2018 the ancillary units in Laval (rue de l'Ancien Evêché), in Paris (prox. rue de la Huchette), as well as the flagship showcase Ecole des Malletiers of Belgium, at Durbuy (rue du Comte d'Ursel, as of March 2018).


mentions légales      © copyright 2019, OGISPES FRANCE Charleville-Mezieres & OGISPES BELGIQUE Liège. 

Tous droits réservés. Update: 2019-03-09