Where To Get Your Knives Sharpened in Paris

A few months ago I read an interview with Yves Charles, owner of Perceval knives, whose handsome 9.47 I have often coveted while dining out at some of the nicer Parisian tables.

In the interview he talked about knife sharpening, and how important it is to have a real pro do it, lest your blades be shot in the process. I could only agree, having had limited success with the different sharpening tools I tried over the years.

I got the same message at the knife store I visited in California last fall: if you take good care of your knives, wash them by hand and put them away mindfully — slipped in a knife block, stashed in the box they came in, or sheathed in a blade guard if you need to put them in a drawer — you can keep a sharp edge on them for months and months, and bring them in for sharpening once a year. It isn’t very costly, and heightens the longevity of your knives.

The truth is, I had been wanting to get mine professionally sharpened for a while, but I wasn’t sure where to go. So when I read Yves Charles saying, “In Paris, there are no more than three good places to get your knives sharpened,” I had to find out what they were.

I contacted him and he kindly responded with this list, which happens to coincide with the distributors he works with:
Coutellerie Kindal, 23 rue de Constantinople, 75008 Paris, 01 42 61 70 78,
Coutellerie Laguiole du Marais, 6 rue du Pas de la Mule, 75003 Paris, 01 48 87 46 88,
Coutellerie Courty & Fils, 44 rue des Petits Champs, 75002 Paris, 01 42 96 59 21.

(And as a bonus for readers following along in Lyon or Marseille:
Coutellerie de Lyon, 5 place Bellecour, 69002 Lyon, 04 78 38 05 88,
Coutellerie de Lodi, 5 rue de Lodi, 13006 Marseille, 04 91 94 11 92.)

The Courty knife shop was the most convenient for me so I called, and was told to bring my knives on a Tuesday or Friday before 10:30am; they would be ready by 1pm on the same day. Of course, you could bring them in anytime, and collect them after 1pm the next Tuesday or Friday, but most people need them back quick so they can cook dinner.

I went just before Christmas to drop off the knives whose blades inspired either shame or pity, and spent some time marveling at the many cool ones on display — I have a thing for folding knives and would start a collection if I allowed myself to. I went back to pick them up a few days later; I had spares at home.

And I’m happy to report I was delighted with the whole experience: the staff was remarkably nice (Paris does force you to lower the bar, but these guys were friendly by anyone’s standards), it cost me 23€ for five knives (the rates are 4 to 10€ per knife, depending on size), and of course the sharpening was impeccable. I shall be back next year.

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How do you keep your knives sharp? Do you DIY, or do you prefer to let a pro handle the task?

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