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Thiers, Laguiole Brings Six Centuries of Beautiful French Cutlery.

Thiers is France's knife capital, and Laguiole is known the world 'round for the quality and beauty of its blades and corkscrews. Even its streets attest to its place in knife-making (Forge Street, Industry Street, Factory Street, Sharpeners Street…).  Thiers sits on a rocky outcrop on the fertile plain of Limagne, facing the beautiful (and iron-rich) Puys mountains, in the heart of France's Livradois-Forez Regional Natural Park...

Thier's factories run on water power from the River Durolle. The forge that provides so much of Laguiole's steel reminds us all of how hard craftsmen work- and how hard working conditions were at the beginning of the last century-- it's named "Hell".

The Hollow of Hell, Photo by Massimo © Le Creux de l'Enfer 


Thiers' specialization began in the Middle Ages: when - according to legend- crusaders of Auvergne brought the secrets of metal manufacturing back from the East. Thiers did not then have iron or steel mines on site, nor sandstone quarries for millstones. But they did have Durolle, a torrential river whose hydraulic power could provide the energy necessary for the mills and factories of the cutlers. By 1855, cutlery activity employed 25,000 people.

Now called the "Valley of the Factories" or "the Hollow of Hell", Thiers' factories and workshops still run on hydroelectric energy supplied by the river Durolle. Theirs craftsmen remember their forefathers, the "yellow bellies", grinders (who edged blades) lying on their stomachs above the millstones, in a position specific to French knife-making. When they got cold and stiff, they began bringing their dogs with them. Hounds would lie and sleep on their legs to keep the grinders' legs warm as they worked.


THIERS Today still produces 70% of French knives.

The most famous of these are the “Laguiole” (from the name of a village in Aveyron ). For generations, Thiers cutlers produced beautiful knives for their region. Recently, they have begun a new brand for their own city "Thiers ® ":

Logo-confrerie-coutie-de-tieThiers'® 100 cutlers and 60 subcontractors continue the Laguiole expertise, craftsmanship, and love of tradition.