It is in the Livradois-Forez that the world capital of cutlery is nestled, stronghold of the folding and artisanal knife. The manufacture of these very useful little tools is the very essence of Thiers. And the city even has its own knife: Le ThiersⓇ, created by the Brotherhood of the knife of Thiers in 1993. Its refined shape and its racy line has since conquered the hearts of the inhabitants but also that of the visitors.
Thiers, international capital of cutlery
Thiers, the world capital of cutlery, clinging to the mountainous rock. Because it is here, in this city, where there are the most cutlers who have been practicing their profession for several generations. You may know it: in Thiers and in the Thiers mountains, 70% of French sharp objects are manufactured. Between grinders, blacksmiths, polishers, manufacturers of woodworking and steel: they all have a very particular and very much alive know-how. So to highlight this know-how, an international festival of the knife of art and tradition puts it in the spotlight every year in May: Cutellia.
In the region, cutlery was born in the Durolle valley, seven centuries ago. The cutlers have tamed this river to install "spinning wheels", these old cutlery that used hydraulic energy. Therefore, the last one still in operation can be visited in the Rouets Valley.
Good plan : You can take advantage of the ticket combined with the visit of the cutlery museum to discover this know-how, while breathing the freshness of the river.
In Thiers, you notice, the knife is everywhere. By entering this universe, you discover an exciting artisanal domain. The cutlers use wood, carbon, bone, fossils, horn, metal to shape very personalized knives. With simple or very complex assemblies. Bright colors or soft natural materials. Very strong steels and different polishing techniques. Each creation is unique. There is bound to be a model that will be your favorite. Craftsmen and retailers are happy to share their passion with you from their shop-workshops.
Visit Thiers and discover the cutlery museum. A rich collection awaits you. Within everyone's reach: you don't need to be an expert to have a pleasant visit to the knife capital. Even the less curious will remain fascinated by his crafted knives. Damascus blades, unique and collectible pieces, or a simple “office” knife, there is something for everyone but always with respect for quality and tradition.
Visiting Thiers is also walk the streets entering the cutlery shops. The craftsmen tell you about their know-how with stars in their eyes. Their job is their life, their identity. Take the time to question them and you will understand. They will be able to share this passion for the knife with you.
In May, wander the alleys of the largest cutlery festival in the world. It brings together exhibitors from around the world in the knife capital, all driven by a passion for cutlery: cutlers, barbers, collectors, equipment suppliers. Uncover your crush among these real works of art, half tool, half jewel.
No doubt you will leave with a gift for your friends or family. A beautiful object in which the craftsman will have put all his soul and his know-how. But above all do not forget the tradition: if you offer a knife, the recipient of the gift must give you a small coin. If she doesn't, the blade may sever the bond between you and her, you've been warned!
An activity not to be missed!
You can make this beautiful object in the heart of Auvergne with the passionate cutler artisans of Thiers. Indeed, you can mount, assemble, polish and even engrave your first name on the blade. A great activity to do with the family during your holidays.
Visit Thiers, the medieval city
Thiers is a dynamic town with excellent cutlery know-how. Indeed, it knew how to take advantage of industrialization. It has thus been gaining population for 5 years and many companies are located in the city and in the Thiers mountains. Their fields of activity are varied: aeronautics, fittings, plastics, mechanics, medical… As well as the world of cutlery of course!.
In Thiers, the old center is home to medieval houses and small sloping streets. You have to get lost in it to appreciate the uniqueness of Thiers. Indeed, some of the prettiest little alleys are tucked away. Covered passages called “pedde” (pronounce “pede”) give a lot of presence to this city classified as a protected area. Marc Prival says it well: “ Old houses in height squeezing together to keep warm, streets that hang downhill endlessly, alleys connecting with degrees between the districts, "peddes" spanning the void, it is a city that has character. — (Marc Prival, Cutlery in Thiers and its region). You recognize the old shops of the cutlers, along the rue de la Coutellerie and in the rue Conchette. Craftsmen and craftswomen also welcome you: ceramist, leather worker, wood turner...
What to do in Thiers and its surroundings in two days?
In the valley of the factories, the contemporary art center "Creux de l'Enfer" " waiting for you. It is installed in an old cutlery. Then, at the cutlery museum, marvel at the collection: a pleasant visit awaits you. Here, cutlers will give demonstrations before your eyes. To complete your visit to Thiers, discover the valley of spinning wheels. You walk in the footsteps of grinders: a peaceful natural setting six minutes by car or twelve kilometers on foot along the hiking route “From hell to spinning wheels”.
Do not miss having a drink on the terrace of a café overlooking the mountain you have just climbed. A stone's throw from the museum, linger in Saint-Genès collegiate church with its architectural nuggets and its striking tranquillity. You will be surprised by the imposing dome. It is the largest in Auvergne and it is in Livradois-Forez!
For those who like to hike and discover nature, go to the high forest of Bois noirs. Come and enjoy a majestic mountain range. It will delight hikers and mountain bikers.
Finally, for the most solitary, the Black Woods spa invites you to relax in its aquasensory space. Sauna, hammam and massages are on the program. But before, enjoy a hot herbal tea, enjoying the view of the Prades lake. Lovers can feast on unforgettable landscapes during a poetic hike on Chignore grün.
Ideas for activities to do in Thiers
- Mount your knife Le Thiers® withInserfac or cutlery Robert David in Thiers.
- Participate in an initiation to painting workshop at the Ocher-Rose Workshop in Vollore Ville.
- Visit the castles of Vollore in Vollore-ville and Aulteribe in Sermentizon.
- Explore May Factory, exhibition and conference venue in Thiers.
- Relax at Black woods spa in Saint-Remy-sur-Durolle.
- Visit a mountain beekeeper in Viscomtat.
- Taste the mineral and royal water of Chateldon.
- Enjoy three “Blue Flag” around Thiers.
Off the beaten track
The association The old blades offers guided tours of their workshop in La Monnerie-le-Montel and explains the life of its former peasant-cutlers who made or assembled thousands of knives in their homes. Knife assembly workshops are also organised.
The Pre Fleuri Farm, in Sermentizon, invites you to discover its ORGANIC products during a horse-drawn carriage ride-tasting, with the Comtois horses of the farm.
The natural spaces around Thiers
- Take a dip with family or friends at the body of water of Prades in Saint-Rémy-sur-Durolle, at the Iloa Leisure Center in Thiers or in Aubusson lake from Auvergne.
- Hike in the middle of nature in the Black Woods around the Saint Thomas pass.
- Breathe the clean air in the Credogne Valley and its deciduous forest.