Dear Mr. Puppy – Where does one go for a bow rehair in 18th century Paris? How much will it cost?
Well my Dear, Bow hair has become a real issue here in Paris. You could ask those connected to the trade, such as, Citizen Boyer at L’ancien Café de Foy on the Rue de Richlieu or le dame Lemenu rue du Roule. She is the wife of citizen Charles Boyer, publisher of the Journal de Violon a pamphlet dedicated to amateur violinist. She will surely have a list of the most affordable tradespeople. The masters of the trade such as citizen Cousineau on the rue de Poulies will certainly be able to do the re-hair of the bow for you, but these people are not for the likes of us red wine drinkers. They only live on champagne and lobster, while we still line up for bread that has been half cut with plaster of Paris to make it weigh more. Citizen Tourte will surely be the best also, but he has a reputation for being very slow, especially if you are not a member of the masonic crowd. He makes bows that are like dueling pistols, polished and made for sure aim for your Coup de L’archet. He makes his daughter sort through the hair for him, only picking out the strongest and the most even French sourced hair it is washed three times in bran water and then tinted with a little bluette to make it seem whiter. I myself prefer the hair from the Carpathian horses that is strong enough to play through ten operas at the Feydeau without breaking a single hair. I think though that the widow of citizen Duchesne on the rue Saint-Jaques, whose family used to make affordable and good bows in the times of the Tyrant, would be your best resource. I have heard that she likes to help young musicians. If not her, then the maker Soquet on the Place du Louvre or the shop of my late friend Gaffino on the rue des Prouvaires. Do you remember Camille Desmoulins, and what he did at the Café de Foy to encourage the whole of Paris to take up arms?