Gilles Sieg’s story
At a very young age, Gilles’s passion for flowers and floral arrangements and decorations led him to enter the prestigious “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” competition.
He received this sought-after title in 1986 at the age of 25 and remains the youngest winner to this day.
In 1987, he was invited to join the Interflora Floral Art Group, which brings together the most acclaimed florists. The organisation acts both as a vast laboratory where ideas flow freely and also a space for self-expression where florists innovate and share ideas inspired by fashions and trends. The guiding principle is a dynamic exchange of savoir-faire.
Gilles secured his position as an elite florist with other notable successes:
- In 1998 he was a finalist in the European Florist Championship.
- He became a teacher at the Parisian school École des Fleuristes, where he passes on his savoir-faire to three apprentices per year.
In 2016, Gilles decided to diversify his floristry business with an e-commerce platform, hoping to share his passion for flowers with an even wider audience. He also established a and a presence on social media.
And, thus the very first online Parisian boutique for high-quality flowers was created by a winner of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” Award.
This online presence serves as another way to promote exceptional craftsmanship and share a passion for floral art.
Meilleur ouvrier de France
The idea behind the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” Award
It all started with one man: art critic and journalist Lucien Klotz (1876-1946).
In 1913, an apprenticeship crisis threatened the livelihood of French craftsmanship, industry and the arts. It was then that Lucien Klotz struck upon the idea of organising an annual national trade exhibition to find the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” (best craftsman in France) for each profession.
He was even more determined to carry out this plan when the situation worsened in 1918 after four years of deadly conflict. There was also an urgent need to rebuild the strong values and moral foundations that would heal a civilisation and economy ravaged by war.
With the support of the French Trade Minister, Lucien Dior, the first national exhibition was held in October 1924 at the Hôtel de Ville in Paris. It was inaugurated by President Gaston Doumergue.
The award ceremony took place on 31 January 1925 in the Grand Amphitheatre, Sorbonne University’s most prestigious lecture hall. It was there that the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” title was bestowed for the first time to 149 deserving winners – artisans, master craftsmen and apprentices – honouring over 200 of the works of art on display. From 1932 onward an official medal was presented to each winner, designed by the engraver Lagriffoul and bearing the inscription:
« “L’Enseignement Technique aux Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” (technical education of the best craftsmen in France ».
In 1935, a decree from the National Education Ministry granted official status to the title “Un des Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” (one of the best craftsmen in France), with a diploma of recognition.
In 2005, having invited proposals from “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” Award winners specialising in engraving, modelling and sculpture, the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” Society selected the design proposed by modelling and ceramic art specialist Bernard Gaillard.
This medal features a spiral to symbolise the infinite evolution of knowledge, as well as a laurel wreath linked to the national colours. The latter complements the progression of the spiral toward the ultimate goal of success.
What is the significance of the “Meilleur Ouvrier de France Award”?
“The award aims to promote manual skills and ensure the protection and rejuvenation of our heritage. Our mission also includes enhancing artisanship and apprenticeship by encouraging innovation as we forge our future, without losing sight of traditional philosophies and techniques,” explains Gérard Rapp, National President of the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” Society.
Meilleur ouvrier de France Charter
The “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” Charter enshrines the Society’s ten guiding principles.
1 – To be a willing member of the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” Society.
2 – To endeavour to uphold the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France” Society’s vision and commitment in all circumstances.
3 – To sincerely and respectfully embody the values that underpin the reputation of the “Meilleurs Ouvriers de France”.
4 – To be an impeccable example of moral behaviour.
5 – To constantly strive for progress and perfection.
6 – To contribute to cultural evolution by being receptive to creativity and innovation.
7 – To act as a humble and modest conduit for ideas and the transfer of knowledge.
8 – To be generous, supportive and open to others.
9 – To search for the future innovators of each profession and encourage their development.
10 – To listen to all debates and reflections with tolerance and an open mind.
Gilles Sieg received his Award in 1985 at the age of 25.
He was the youngest ever “Meilleur Ouvrier de France” in the floristry category.
La Maison Beaufrere,
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