Saturday, 29 October 2011

Who are these guys?

In Cluny one often bumps into a handful of people dressed like this. They did not walk away from a Carnival celebration; no these are students of the ENSAM, one of France’s Grande Écoles in their working outfit. The ENSAM is a very prestigious technical university (that seems to come as close to the school type as one can get), and Cluny is just another (very small scale) branch of the École Supérieure des Arts et Métiers of Paris. We have never been able to figure out how the school exactly works, but we do know that these students are in Cluny only for a couple of months. The lecture halls are in one of the remaining parts of the former abbey.
The students live together in a couple of blocks of flats, and sometimes, when there is a party going on, one really gets the impression that Cluny is a university town. But generally one only sees the students in their extravagant outfit wondering around the market or browsing the shop windows in Cluny’s main street. The school possesses a beautiful collection of “masterpieces”, a piece of handicraft the students must produce to prove that they master their trade. The collection is open to the public on the open days of the school. The students in the bottom photograph are standing next to one of the old “masterpieces”.
The ENSAM is also heavily involved in the abbey of Cluny. Various 3D films about the Ecclesia Major and other buildings of Cluny III often bear the signature of the ENSAM.
We were not aware what else was involved when it comes to the French Grandes Écoles. We found out about it when one group of students was leaving and another one was coming in. This normally happens during the weekend, and a sure sign that something is going on is the lack of available parking spaces. But once having discarded one’s vehicle, one bumps regularly into bunches of students and their parents and friends.
To our amazement, the students had undergone a metamorphosis. No more grey, with bright colours painted or embroidered dust coats; on those hey days the students are wearing a military like uniform, and the few female students wear a similar skirt suit.
When comparing working cloths and gala cloths, the difference between those two is even greater than within the army!

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1 comment:

  1. Who are these guys ?

    Me !!

    I am the guy on the left with the black and white blues brothers picture on his back. The other guys are friends of mine and the one in the middle (with the motorbike on his back) is next to me right now.

    It is pleasant to see an honest article. Most people see us as a sect and are not as honest as you are.

    Best regards,
    Cyril POIROT, by-name Popop 120,
    Maxime Delorme-Scoto, by-name Dragstar 92