Tourism on the cutting edge

Before we left Vichy today, we saw the old spa center that once graced the area of our hotel. Must have really been something.

And then it was on to the town of Thiers, a name synonymous with cutlery for over six hundred years. It is considered to be the French capital of knife manufacturing – in case you were wondering just where that might be. There are hundreds of knife manufacturing companies, and even a museum dedicated to knives. There are knives everywhere here. You cannot imagine that so many knives are required to live life properly. I don’t think we have been sufficiently outfitted in this category, judging from all the shops and all the choices.

Over 70% of all pocket, kitchen and table knives “Made in France” are created in this city. A majority of the workshops are comprised of only ten employees, each with a long artisanal heritage, evidently respected worldwide.

A tour of the museum and a stroll through this lovely medieval city convinced us they know what they are doing in the knife world, and that they’ve been at it for a very long time. And they were early to adopt an ergonomic approach to their craft. The knife-grinders support their body on cushioned boards so that they can lean over their grinders for hours without tiring.

The older medieval part of the city is even more charming than the norm. This is not a major tourist destination, except for knife fanatics, it seems. Overall, a very lovely small town with a very distinct point of view….

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