The Old Professions of Paris

Being one of the oldest cities in Europe, Paris has always been home to a very broad diversity of professions. Despite the fact that most of these jobs disappeared giving way to others, some Parisians preferred to preserve their traditions and to keep them alive by practicing a few of these old professions. This article will give you the opportunity to discover 3 of the oldest professions in Paris that still exist in the present day:

  • Silversmith (Orfèvre):

Silversmith_Paris_Marischael_old professions

Silversmithing consists in creating, converting and restoring silver items that can be useful for furnishing.

This old profession which dates back to the antiquity had been well developed in Europe between the 17th and the 20th century, a period during which owning such items was synonymous with prestige and wealth.

In order to preserve this traditional profession and to protect it from vanishing, on December 12, 2003, Silversmithing was designated by the French government as an art craft.

If you are staying in one of our apartments that are close to Avenue Daumesnil, such as Apartment Bastille Cotte Studio, you can take pleasure in discovering this old Parisian profession by visiting Nicolas Marischael, one of the finest silversmiths in the city of Paris.


  • Woodcarver: (Ebéniste)

Woodcarver_Paris_old professions

A woodcarver is a person who creates sculptures from wood. He usually uses some basic tools including a carving knife, a gouge, a coping saw, a chisel, a V-tool, and a veiner.

This profession still exists in Paris thanks to some of the most renowned and prestigious workshops like RINCK (1841), in the Passage de la Bonne Graine, close to our cozy apartment, Apartment Canal Saint Martin, in the 11th arrondissement. Don’t hesitate to visit it ! It’s only a ten-minute walk.


  • Bouquiniste:

Bouquinistes_Seine_Paris_old professions

Usually installed along the Seine river, the Bouquinistes of Paris are booksellers of second-hand books, magazines, and prints. This profession appeared around the 16th century in Paris, The City of Light, and still persists to this day.

In 2001, more than two hundred Seine’s booksellers were registered in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. All of them, do not pay any rent or taxes.

Today, bouquinistes are subject to comply with certain common conditions, such as the length of the boxes, their width, height, as well as their color, which must be green, in reference to the signage of the metro of Paris number 1.