1848 Ferdinand Hediard,
the « stationary traveler »

Ferdinand Hédiard was the son of artisans, and as a young man, seemed destined to perpetuate the family tradition. At the age of 14, he signed on as a carpenter's apprentice and embarked on the famous Tour de France as a journeyman to hone his skills.

In 1848, this journey led him to the port of Le Havre, where one December morning, he discovered with wonderment the profusion of exotic products being unloaded on the quayside: Sacks of sugar and barrels of rum from Guadeloupe, crates of cocoa beans and coffee from Martinique, and fabulous fruit from the far side of the world.

This spectacular scene changed the course of his life. He decided to give up carpentry and set up in Paris to sell these rare foodstuffs that captured his imagination.