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A trunk-maker of French Maine settles in Paris


At the beginning of the 16th century, Jean Paré, the brother of the much celebrated Ambroise Paré, surgeon of the kings of France, was a trunk-maker settled in Paris, in the rue de la Huchette, close to the Notre Dame cathedral. He was born in Bourg Hersent, near Laval. And one day he left his hometown, undertaking a journey to Paris. He settled in the City of Lights, along with his brother. Historic research about Jean revealed small episodes of his Parisian life and work. From a more general point of view, since many centuries trunks and chests rarely carried the signature or seal of its artisans. In the 19th century the use of labels, of malletier names and brands, expanded. Soon after, the rise of the premium brands started, and of the famous Maisons.


500 years later: the tribute to Jean and Nicolas


In 2009 Mr. Bal, founding malletier of the PARÉ school, launched in Belgium a pilot-project of structured education of the profession, guiding trainees originating from other craftsmanship schools. In 2018, European Year of Cultural Heritage, he launched the GILBERT school in Belgium. Nicolas Gilbert, a Brussels' malletier, was a contemporary of Jean Paré. The new school was a world premiere, in the form of a renaissance. In former times, to learn the profession of malletier, being the design and manufacture of travelling trunks, and of high luxury or prestige casings for the transport of precious objects, one needed to have the opportunity of joining a malletier company, a Maison, as a trainee towards attaining mastery, or otherwise be driven by self-taught craft and micro-entrepreneurship skills. 


In truth more than 60 years have passed since the last school offering a malletier training, in Paris for that matter, relinquished that education path. With his experience Mr. Bal  created the new school of malletier art and craft in Belgium. Also being active in French higher education for more than ten years, he started in 2021 the school tribute to Jean Paré who was born more than 500 years ago. The great journey, at the heart of France, has only just started... 


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ÉCOLE PARÉ is an entity within INSIL, a private institution of higher education in France

© copyright 2021, OGISPES for Ecole PARÉ, Ecole des Malletiers Nicolas Gilbert of Belgium and  Ecole PARÉ France, Paris, Charleville-Mézières, Reims, Manhay. All rights reserved. Reproduction forbidden. Update : 2021-10-06