In the beginning, the Rue de Famars followed the route of the old Roman road which went from Fanum Martis (an ancient settlement of craftspeople and the modern-day town of Famars to the south of Valenciennes) to Tournai. In a little nod to history, this street which has long been home to antique dealers is now better known for being THE street where craftspeople are to be found! It’s home to workshops that make this part of the town sparkle and make you feel like you’re travelling back in time. Portraits of three master craftspeople.
The paths that lead to arts and crafts are often winding However, in Valenciennes all you have to do is venture beyond the ‘pedestrianised’ part of the Rue de Famars to meet passionate men and women who make things or restore old furniture and antiques with an expertise carefully honed over the centuries.
The Gilder’s Workshop
Sylvie Marez is here to add a little gold to your life. She has been a gilder since 2003. When carrying out this sophisticated work, she applies a thin golden or gold layer to objets d’art (polychrome wood, frames, statues) so as to give them a new lease of life. She knows her art like the back of her hand. Her secret is to work according to her clients’ wishes - she respects their choices. But above all, it’s to remain sensitive and respectful towards the object that she is restoring... before she makes its heart beat again so that its soul feels less lonely. Every object really does have a soul. To doubt that is to ignore Sylvie’s artistry.
123 rue de Famars – 59300 Valenciennes
Tél. 03 27 43 76 09
The Palissandre workshop-gallery
Wood, its sensuality, its curves and its contours, the grandeur of its many varieties - Bernard Bizoux fell in love with this whole world. The cabinetmaker (trained at Saint-Luc in Tournai) likes playing around with different types of trees to make a prestigious piece of furniture just as much as he likes restoring furniture and objets d’art with passion, exactitude and sincere dedication (in his restoration workshop in Bersillies). Today, the craftsman who fits right in on the Rue de Famars wants to diversify. He has set up Palissandre Encadrement in Valenciennes and is offering his expertise in picture framing.
Gérard Dufour, upholsterer - decorator
Inanimate objects, do you have souls ? The answer to this age-old question can be found at Gérard Dufour’s fingertips. In him, armchairs have found their saviour. The upholsterer, who’s wielded his hammer for over 30 years, can refurbish or enhance a damaged old armchair with diligence and talent. Above all, he knows how to remain patient, curious and humble in the face of furniture history. The result of this combination of qualities is remarkable, not to say magical. A magnificent armchair that takes centre stage in his workshop serves as a dazzling demonstration of this magical effect, such is the degree to which its ability to amaze people has been restored.
111 rue de Famars – 59300 Valenciennes
Tél. 03 27 41 14 85
In his gallery on the Rue de Famars (a building dating from 1608 beautifully renovated in 1986), Philippe Kozak (the son of artists and a former student of the École Louis-Lumière in Paris), displays old furniture and objets d’art from the 17th to the 19th centuries.
This art enthusiast (these days, he’s more focused on painting and sculpture) offers both old and contemporary works, leaving space for talents from Valenciennes or the north of France. Pop in for a visit - the antiquarian loves to chat with art-lovers (he’s especially loquacious when it comes to Jean-Baptiste Carpeaux or Francis Beaudelot) and takes pleasure in sharing his passion with his clients.
90 rue de Famars – 59300 Valenciennes
Tél. 03 27 47 11 48