The word has its origin in Latin: conservus. The French dictionary defines it as: Someone who is an apprentice working for a master, and who will eventually become his own master. In the old French tradition, the concierges in France hotels have been men, certainly in Paris, while the concierges in apartment buildings, for example, have generally been women.
French people are always of two minds about the concierge in their own apartment buildings. They are busy bodies that know all of the gossip not only in their domains, but also from their neighborhoods. The concierge along with the letter carrier know who is who, and very often are quite intimate with what is going on in the private lives of the people they serve.
The men concierges in hotels are facilitators par excellence. Clients come in, want tickets to an event, a taxi, the name of good restaurant, babysitters, where to cash a check in the middle of the night, and a few other services which require une certaine discrétion! Maybe that is why only men need apply for the job. Though, that is not taking away the incredible discretion of a buildings’ concierge.
Because of the influx of immigrants from European countries, such as Portugal and Spain, the profession seems to have been taken over by these immigrants that is not surprising in that the buildings provide to these people a place to live and a salary, plus any tips they may receive from the tenants. This usually takes place for Christmas.