“Le sentier des luthiers” (The Path of the Stringed Instrument Makers) in Mirecourt is a historical walk that was designed to complete the knowledge of visitors about French stringed instrument and bow making. Using the Guide "Sentier des Luthiers" (Marked Path of Stringed Instrument Makers), the visitors, while going over the avenues, the streets, the backstreets and the places, and crossing the river Madon, can discover about sixty houses of stringed instrument and bow makers, small workshops and factories, listed and dated over about three centuries. Plates have been fixed to each building with information about the name, dates and business carried out at each address; they bring evidence of the differences found in the status and features of what is commonly designated under the name of "stringed instrument making". The marked path has two versions, the "Short Path" (about an hour of walk) and the "Long path" (of an hour and a half). Other locations are indicated "Out of Path", but are of interest and worth the trip…
Mireille Bouvet, The Regional Commissioner for the General Inventory of Cultural Heritage of Lorraine, who was involved in the design of the Visiting Guide in 2006, explains the links between string instrument making and architecture: this activity in Mirecourt has not produced any specific architectural forms, except for the buildings designed for industrial manufacture (Thibouville-Lamy factory …) and a building intended for the multifamily housing of the stringed instrument workmen in the Saint-Vincent district. The stringed instrument makers lived and worked in the downtown houses, with possibly a shop established at the ground floor, separate from housing. If necessary, a shed was added encroaching the court or the garden to extend the house and store materials. This was not different from any other housing of craftsmen in an urban environment.
However, the development of production in the twentieth century and the establishment of many new small workshops looking for good lighting conditions had resulted in the opening of bays of an unusual width on the façades of the buildings, unlike the windows of eighteenth and nineteenth strict architecture of a much greater height. These new openings sometimes located at the ground floor, are generally at the last level under the roof, even in the attic. The shape of such windows extending over two spans, and their materials ("slag" or sand-lime bricks, or beams of standard profile used as lintels…) are visible immediately by any one walking in the street and curious of the town landscape.
Some other tenuous indications show the importance of the instrument making activity in the town, despite the lack of specific architectural forms, such as the signs, and symbolic decorations, such as the outlines of instruments drawn on the wind-braces.
The Path of the Stringed Instrument Makers was inaugurated in September 2006, on the occasion of the European Heritage Days, with the participation of many musicians.