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Saddler et Harness-Maker

Visits : Open year-round, from Monday to
Friday, or by appointment.

Regions : Sartinesi Valincu Taravu

Categories : Craftsmen

Marincaggi - route du Mulinu, Agosta plage
20166 Albitreccia
  04 95 25 59 41 |   07 89 63 10 36 |

Alix Gauffreau set up her saddle-making workshop in the commune of Albitreccia. Horses have been her all-consuming passion ever since she was 3 years old, and she has always wanted to earn her living working with them. “In the beginning, my dream was to join the French Republican Guard on horseback, but Iwas too short for the ‘Gendarmerie Nationale’ police force” she told us.

It’s not like Alix to fall at the first hurdle, and she was rapidly back in the saddle with another idea she had in the back of her mind “I realized that there were no saddlers or harness-makers left in Corsica. The last one in Ajaccio had stopped work 20 years before” she continues. So Alix decided to head for mainland France, to train in the small village of Donzy in Burgundy. Here, over 2 years, the young woman learned all of the techniques of the trade with an experienced saddler and harness-maker.  With her professional CAP qualification under her belt, Alix Gauffreau returned to Corsic and decided, with help from her parents, to set up her business in her home village of Albitreccia. “They have always supported me with all my plans. To start with, my father let me use the garage, and we cobbled salvaged bits and pieces together to build my workshop” remembers Alix, who these days welcomes you to her fine, spanking-new workshop that she has named after her horse, Atletico.

Alix is the only qualified worker in Corsica working as a saddler and harness maker, and she knows how to build a customer base and maintain their loyalty. “This profession mostly comes down to word of mouth. I work with individuals as well as with owners’ stables”, the young woman explains. Alix visits her customers as well as attending Corsican agricultural fairs, and she takes part in international trade fairs such as the ‘5 étoiles’ in Pau and ‘Equita’ in Lyon (with the help of Adec (the Corsican Agency for Economic Development) and the Corsican regional authorities). This gives her the opportunity to meet her customers and to make her business known. “In keeping with purely traditional French saddlery, my work is entirely hand-made. It is a craft that demands a lot of time, a lot of patience and discipline”. In the hands of this young woman who has a passion for her work, saddles, halters and trekking bridles, as well as belts, straps and knife sheaths come to life and are re-born.

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