Montbron, from Charentaise slippers to Hermès bags ES | Hermès

Montbron,
from Charentaise slippers to Hermès bags

The River Tardoire meanders through the fields where Limousine cows graze lazily. Montbron, in its picture postcard landscape, was sliding into oblivion. The opening of the Hermès leather workshop created over 250 jobs that contributed to the regeneration of this town in the Charentes area of southwestern France. Families are moving back in, a nursery class has reopened, and community activities resumed. A renaissance.
“Montbron, in Charentes, has endured two catastrophic decades. The unemployment rate reached 15% in the late 1990s. Young people moved away, houses and shops stood empty, and the school lost a class every four years. It was becoming a dormitory town for Angoulême. The 300 jobs created since the opening of the Hermès Tardoire manufacture replaced those that were lost. Not all our problems are resolved, but hope is returning.”
 
Gwenhaël François, Mayor of Montbron
 

Montbron - Moulin Neuf plant (Roofing plant for the paper mill Bricq et Cie)

© Archives départementales de la Charente. Rights reserved. 11 Fi 223/28

A story linked to the manufacture of slippers

It is a typical town in today’s rural France. One deserted by the businesses that had for generations made it prosperous. Montbron had two strings to its bow: textiles and felt, for manufacturing slippers and to meet the needs of the paper industry. At its peak, the Bricq factory employed 400 people, compared to around 60 today, who now work in textiles for industrial use. Just one slipper manufacturer, DM Production, has survived.
 


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