‘I’m happy to show them around’ - My Space: David Ayache

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Visit a 13th-century workshop in the heart of Montpellier, France

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Montpellier is a large town in the south of France, just a few miles from the Mediterranean, and has possibly the largest concentration of violin makers of any provincial French town. I originally came here in 1990 after graduating from Mirecourt, attracted by the perfect weather, seductive architecture and rich cultural history. I spent six years working with Frédéric Becker, and in 1997 I opened my first shop in the old town centre. It’s just down the road from the former palace of the Kings of Aragon, now a hotel. In 2012 I moved just across the street, when a historic property became available; it was first built in the 13th century and still has some original features from that time, but most of it was renovated and rebuilt in the 18th century. It’s gone through a large number of iterations since then, including serving as a meeting place for deaf people from the 1960s to the 80s. When I bought it, the whole place needed a lot of work doing to it, which took around a year before I was ready to open…

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