A Medieval Work Ethic That Still Works

The quiet courtyard in the Marais quarter of Paris, far from busy avenues and traffic jams, is reminiscent of medieval times. A gothic church dominates the jumble of stone buildings. Intent young apprentices scurry across the cobblestones. But as the headquarters of the Association des Compagnons du Devoir, a confederation of artisan trades, this relic of the past is also a bright spot in the country's sagging economy.

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