The charms of this 'bastide' town in Haute Garonne worked their magic on a certain Alexandre Monoury in 1888. Alexandre was a master journeyman, a cabinetmaker who left the workshops of Versailles where he was working and settled in Revel.
Under his influence, several workshops were established here and are still going strong today. Ringing with the sound of bandsaws, spindle-moulding machines, mortises and trying-planes, Revel is home to France's greatest concentration of artisans specialising in hand-crafted furniture.
Here, cabinetmakers and inlayers, lacquerers and upholsterers carve, chisel, polish and craft cherry, oak, rosewood and lemon. From father to son, they have perfected the art of making reproduction furniture from the eras of Louis XIV, Louis XV, the Empire and more…
Hand-made furniture from Revel is exported to places as far away as the United Sates and the United Arab Emirates. They may be expert in the great classics, but these craftsmen also cater for contemporary tastes with stylish designer models of chairs, settees, console tables, etc.
An interesting anecdote: Louis XV's cylinder secretaire
One day in 1988, an American art collector came to Revel to ask if someone could make him a reproduction of the cylinder secretaire that belonged to king Louis XV. This formidable writing desk was designed like a safe where battle plans and state secrets could be kept secure. It was a legend, a dream unrealisable by any cabinetmaker! The François Daïdé company, in Revel, took up the challenge. It took 14 different trades and 17,500 hours' work to create an identical copy of the secretaire, full of complex mechanisms and springs, trammels and counterweights. The masterpiece was delivered in 1993.
The town of Revel has been granted Ville et Métiers d’Art status.