The first record of violin-makers in Montpellier dates back to 1768, when an anonymous luthier came from Italy to setup a musical instrument and repair shop.
In 1792, there were five luthiers, including one woman, with workshops near the theatre, on the Grand Rue and next to the treasury building.
By the 19th century this number had grown to over 15 shops selling instruments, though mostly focusing on repairing them. As the city grew, many luthiers moved to the outskirts.
With its wars, emergence of recorded music and new forms of leisure, the 20th century was hard on the profession.
Then local violin making took off again in the 1980's.
Today there are several luthiers in Montpellier, providing special orders as artisans and fine instrument-makers.
This explains why they are somewhat "hidden" in workshops, rather than on display behind a boutique window.