Musée du Compagnonnage (compagnonnage is an association of craftsmen working in the same field – stonecutters, roofers, blacksmiths, leather goods makers, etc) is a cosy compact museum dedicated to French trade guilds. It’s hidden on the first floor of an old house just near Marché Saint-Germain and the legendary City Pharma pharmacy in Saint-Germain area.
The museum is directed by the Compagnons du Tour de France – and old and mysterious organization of craftsmen and artisans that started in the Middle Ages. It’s named Tour de France because the traditional education of this community includes taking a tour around France to work with different masters. During this time young people live all together in the Compagnon house and study from Monday to Friday, from 8am-10pm plus 8 hours on Saturday. If they still want to be Compagnons, they go through an adoption ceremony. After around 4-6 years of study and several promotions, they are finally allowed to live and work where the hell they want.
Musée du Compagnonnage holds a decent collection of oeuvres and tools of craftsmanship, various artifacts, photographs and documents related to French craftsmen and their story. The museum also sells books and periodicals on the subject. The grandpa working there is cute.