Meet Henri Launay, the 90-Year-Old French 'Doll Doctor'

Henry Launay has worked since 1964 as a doll doctor 
Henry Launay has worked since 1964 as a 'doll doctor'  | | © Bony / SIPA / REX / Shutterstock

Henri Launay is a 90-year-old French ‘doll doctor’ based in Paris, who’s been fixing broken dolls and dearly cherished toys since 1964. With a passion for helping restore people’s fondest childhood memories, Henri tends to each toy with heartfelt affection, incredible attention to detail and the patience of a saint.

Loved by over 40s

Henri Launay is one of a kind, with the most heartwarming job in the world. He is a ‘doll doctor’, working in a tiny atelier tucked away in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. He fixes broken dolls and fraying stuffed animals in order to bring people’s childhood memories back to life.

Henri Launay, the ‘doll doctor’

There’s no denying the steady-handed artistic skill of his delicate restorations. But what’s even more impressive is the fact that he is a completely self-taught surgeon. Henri originally studied electricity before extending his talent for repairs to leather goods, umbrellas, and eventually, dolls.

As you will see when you step into his workshop, or surgery should we say, Henri fully embraces the self-styled title of surgeon by dressing in a smart, white doctor’s uniform. The role-play makes his work that bit more enjoyable.

Henri Launay has been fixing dolls since 1964

This might seem like a peculiar occupation, especially for a man of 90 years of age, and he never had dolls when he was growing up, as he had three brothers. But he admits that what keeps him going is the heartwarming delight he feels when helping to restore people’s fondest memories. Many of the treasured toys are entrusted to him by elderly people who have carried the object of sentimental value with them everywhere. He’s mended teddy bears belonging to former soldiers from World War II, who took the toy as a comfort with them during military service.

Henri Launay makes dolls as good as new

One French lady brought her childhood doll to be repaired, with a poignant tale to share. She recalls dropping the porcelain toy in panic when a German tank arrived in her street during the occupation of Paris by the Nazis in World War II. But the doll was then handed back to her by the German soldier in an unexpected act of kindness. The lady has never forgotten his smile to this day.

Henri Launay’s ‘surgery’ has many patients

The dolls are so old, crafted at the hands of early 20th century French manufacturers such as Bella, Gégé and Raynal, that many have been out of manufacture since the 1960s. Before the dolls were taken off the shop shelves however, Henri managed to secure enough supplies and ‘spare parts’ to keep him fixing for more than 50 years. It’s thanks to the abundance of ancient relics of doll parts that clutter his atelier, that Henri has been able to mend the nation’s most treasured childhood comforts, and some might say, even mend their hearts!

Henri has countless spare parts for the dolls

Not only does Henri demonstrate an incredible skill, but he works with an impeccable attention to detail and admirable patience, spending hours tending to these toys. He’s a perfectionist and repaints the toys back to life, so authentically that they’ve now become collectors’ items, worth quite a lot of money.
Répare Service, 114 Avenue Parmentier, 75011 Paris, France, +33 1 43 57 09 02

culture trip left arrow
 culture trip brand logo

Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip

meet our Local Insider


women sitting on iceberg


2 years.


It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.


I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!

culture trip logo letter c
group posing for picture on iceberg
group posing for picture on iceberg

Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.

map of volcanic iceland trip destination points
culture trip brand logo
culture trip right arrow
landscape with balloons floating in the air


Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.