Une chanson de gestes

If you admire fine craftsmanship, you’ll enjoy the Hermès Festival des Métiers. It’s traveling the world and being held in three US cities in the coming weeks – New York, San Francisco, and Houston. Click on the link, above, for the specifics for each city. The skilled Hermès artisans who labor for hours over each exquisite piece will demonstrate their techniques – from saddles to scarves. You’ll be able to learn what all the following words mean first hand (but I’ll get you started with some definitions so you’ll be prepared to dazzle):

  • astiquer = to polish
  • bichonner = to pamper, dress up
  • cadrer = to fit
  • coudre = to sew
  • couper = to cut
  • fileter = to thread
  • griffer = to affix a mark for a brand
  • perler = to refine, form
  • roulotter = to make a fine, rolled hem

The Hermès world of craftsmanship is so specialized that an entire book, An ABC of Hermès Crafts, has been written on the topic. In the foreword, the author talks about une chanson de gestes (oon shansohn duh zjests), which means “a song of gestures,” to describe Hermès artisans at work. I’m hoping to get to the event in New York to see the song for myself.

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About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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One Response to Une chanson de gestes

  1. Pingback: De première qualité | One quality, the finest.

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