The tradition of violin making in Mirecourt dates back to the 1560s when the quaint town first became associated with famous Cremonese workshops. The noblemen from Lorraine often made excursions into Italy and brought back musical instruments, particularly violins, often as presents to French royalty.
Located in the heart of Vosges mountains, Mirecourt has easy access to quality timber and also to Italian violin makers. To meet the growing demand for violins, businessman and violin maker Didier Nicolas was among the first to establish a large-scale manufacturing firm. Luthiers at this time initially replicated the Cremona designâthen largely made for Italian consumers and select foreign clientsâand turned Mirecourt into one of the most important and productive manufacturers of violins to a rapidly growing market in France and overseas by the end of the 19th century. It made many French luthier names highly sought-after around the world, including Bazin, Buthod, Collin, Laberte, and Ouchard; most notably, the grand master Jean-Baptiste Vuillaume.
Ãcole Nationale de Lutherie was founded in the 1970s and Mirecourtâs enduring legacy in the art of violin-making is preserved at the MusÃ©e de la lutherie et de l'archÃ¨terie franÃ§aise.