The luthier

Thursday, October 27th, 2016

  • James Chauvelin works on a double bass at his small workshop in Paris. He’s been making and restoring string instruments for more than 40 years, and he’s working into the streetlight hours this evening.

    He was busy at work when I wandered by and saw him through the large window that looks out onto Rue Charles V. I walked into his workshop and we exchanged a few words as he continued to work. I asked if I could take some pictures, something I got the impression he is probably somewhat used to as he kindly agreed.

    The smell of wood and glue filled the warm air. He’s worked here for almost his entire career. He doesn’t have a website, but I was able to find a black and white picture from 1979 of James working on another double in the very same workshop. There’s also a video on YouTube of James working on instruments.

    I didn’t want to intrude as he worked in silence, so I took a handful of pictures, then bid him goodnight as I stepped back out into the cold evening air.

    Stand the shop from the street, using Google street view.