The word ‘Compagnonnage’, in the singular, encompasses several associations or gatherings. In reference to the code of duty and usages that nurture them (the Devoir), they go under the names of: compagnons du Devoir, compagnons du Devoir de Liberté, compagnons des Devoirs, compagnons des Devoirs Unis.
At the same time, the compagnons are fundamentally regrouped around their crafts in separate brotherhoods. Thus, while a few crafts are represented in only one form of Devoir, many can be found in two or three, and till the mid 19th century this was the source of strong antagonisms.
From the end of the same century, as the number of compagnons was globally in decline, these craft brotherhoods felt the need to regroup in larger structures to respond to the changes brought about by industrialisation. They are: the Union Compagnonnique des Devoirs Unis (1889), the Association Ouvrière des Compagnons du Devoir (1941) and the Fédération Compagnonnique des Métiers du Bâtiment (1952).
The global names of ‘Compagnonnage’ and ‘Compagnons du Tour de France’ include, and are limited to, these associations.