Le Tour de France – Makers were first

TdF compThis weekend the Tour de France 2015 starts in Utrecht.

Did you know the concept of a Tour de France comes from making, not cycling.

Makers were first.

Every maker has to learn how to make things: the law of practice. If possible: learn from diffferent masters in different places.

In France there is a living tradition in many professions:
Le COMPAGNONNAGE, with its Tour de France!

A Compagnon learns a craft and travels around France to different ateliers (and masters) to hone his proficiency. His Tour de France may take 4 to 6 years. So it is not just learning a craft, it is Bildung in the classical sense.

This is so unique, that Unesco has put it on the List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity:
“Compagnonnage, network for on-the-job transmission of knowledge and identities”

Don’t be mistaken: it is a modern concept with dozens of houses, centres de formation and a University. compagnonnageBBut it dates back to the 13th century.

At the end of his Tour de France a Compagnon will make his masterpiece, demonstrating what he learned. Many masterpieces of the past are preserved in les Musées de Campagnonnage de France.

Compagnons traditionally share their knowledge, like fablabs do. If you read french, see the basic principles of the Compagnonnage. Kind of Fabcharter XL.