Felix Albert Caressa, born 1866 in Nice, and Henri Francais, born 1861 in Mirecourt, were both pupils of Charles Gand and Gustave Bernadel. Caressa and Francais formed a partnership in 1901 when Caressa became head of Bernadel’s business. They often produced instruments for the opera orchestras, conservatory, and other local establishments.
Caressa & Français became a prominent firm in Paris, training and employing many important makers including Gustave Vuillaume. Their work carried on the tradition of their predecessors — Gand and Bernardel, and also Nicolas Lupot. They owned and studied works from many master luthiers including Antonio Stradivarius, Giuseppe Guarneri, Lorenzo Storioni, J.B. Guadagnini, J. B. Vuillaume, François Tourte, and Dominique Peccatte.