What an absolutely incredible birthday! I do not think I’ll ever be able to top visiting the private Louis Vuitton family home and historical workshop. Throw in champagne in crystal Baccarat glasses, a mini cheesecake, a wonderful meal with my classmates and you basically have the epitome of a perfect birthday in Paris.
In 1859, Louis Vuitton established a trunk workshop in Asnières. It was a strategic location because it was close to Seine river (so it was easier to transport the wood needed to make his fabulous trunks) and it was also a railway stop close to Paris. Soon after building the workshop, he built his family home next door. Our visit was an honor because the family home and workshop is closed to the public. Unless you are a high-profile client or journalist (or MBA Luxe student at ESSEC), you can’t visit this truly historic site.
Over time, the home became a winter home for the Vuitton family and one of the sons renovated the interior to its current Art Nouveau splendor. Although it was an extremely short-lived time, Art Nouveau is one of my favorite periods from art history. You could definitely see the sinuous, organic lines and elements of nature throughout the house.
Today, all the special orders and some of the custom purses from the Haute Maroquinerie for Louis Vuitton are made in the workshop. While we weren’t allowed to take pictures inside the workshop, we got a firsthand look into the fine craftsmanship. There are three wood workers in the factory who make all of Louis Vuitton’s wood-based products (trunks and small boxes) and plenty of specialists who focus on inspecting and cutting the leather, painting the seams of handles, nailing the trunk, carving one-of-a-kind locks and keys, and so much more.
I walked out of the visit with a much deeper appreciation for Louis Vuitton. It was a magical day and really made you realize why luxury brands like Louis Vuitton make you “dream.” Hands down. Best.Birthday.Ever.