Thursday, 10 December 2020

Le Cordonnerie du Chateau, Loches

The Cordonnerie du Chateau in Loches is one of those old fashioned shops that I am always very glad to find still exist. A 'cordonnerie' is a cobbler's workshop, and this one sells huntin' shootin' 'n' fishin' gear, but also repairs shoes and bags.

Rue Balzac, Loches, Indre et Loire, France. Photo by Loire Valley Time Travel.
Rue Balzac in Loches. The cordonnerie has a dark wood facade.

Inside the shop is dark and cluttered. You weave your way through racks of hunting jackets and vests to get to midway down the length of the shop where there is an enclosed booth. The cobbler is a nice man who assured me he could reglue my nearly new hiking boots which were separating at the sole, and he could put a new more robust clip on my bumbag strap to replace the one that had snapped. How much would that be? €15, come back in a week. I was very happy.

The cobbler, Claude Lefevre, has been there for 31 years. He's one of the few real shoe repair places still left. The one in Preuilly closed decades ago, the one in Descartes a few years ago. The shop is at 13 rue Balzac, Loches.

The etymology of the word 'cordonnier' is connected to 'cordwainer', the word for someone who makes new shoes, but nowadays cordonniers, like cobblers, are restricted to repairing shoes and leather goods. The words cordonnier and cordwainer also referred to those who worked in Cordovan leather [link]. 


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6 comments:

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Yes same in the UK most of the old cobblers have retired, Timpson shops are about the only ones around now. Then again it has been a throw away business for many many years now. I can remember as a child the local cobbler making clogs and hobnailed boots.

Susan said...

I know. I was amazed to find an actual competent cobbler. But then again, Loches is just the sort of place where you can still find them.

chm said...

I found this on the Net
Etymology Edit

The term cordwainer entered English as cordewaner(e), from the Anglo-Norman cordewaner (from Old French cordoanier, -ouanier, -uennier, etc.), and initially denoted a worker in cordwain or cordovan, the leather historically produced in Moorish Córdoba, Spain in the Middle Ages, as well as, more narrowly, a shoemaker.[8] The earliest attestation in English is a reference to “Randolf se cordewan[ere]”, ca. 1100.[1][8] According to the OED, the term is now considered obsolete except where it persists in the name of a trade-guild or company, or where otherwise employed by trade unions.[8]

Susan said...

For example: Cordwainers.

chm said...

The old French cordoanier is very close to the modern cordonnier.

Susan said...

Yes.

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