Thiers

FRANCE AUVERGNE PUY DE DOME steel knife ThiersThiers (pop 12,600) is a historic industrial town that is located on a steep hillside along the Gorges de la Durolle. The elevation of the hill splits the town into its high and low town areas, which are both filled with half-timbered houses. The River Durolle used to be the generator behind Thiers’ long knife making history. The town was once known for being an industrial city, at times dubbed as being Steel City, that used to churn out most of France’s knife and cutlery supply.

This industry is still being kept alive in Thiers, despite the change in economy. Forges Gorce (a part of McConnel Alamo) continues to make blades for industrial machines such as combine harvesters, and Thiers is home to over 60 other workshops and factories.  Its industrial history is best understood via Musée de la Coutellerie (Cutlery Museum) [rue de la Coutelelerie, +33 473802939, www.ville-thiers.fr/Musee-de-la-FRANCE AUVERGNE PUY DE DOME Thiers The 'Hôtel du Pirou' XVth centuryCoutellerie, ad/ch €5.50/2.70]. Opened in 1982 this museum is dedicated to preserving the ancient art of knife making in the region, with its collection of various types of knives and a demonstration workshop.

Another knife-related sight is the Vallée des Rouets (Valley of Waterwheels) - an open air museum that is located a few kilometres upstream from Thiers. The grindstone mill museum was dedicated to self-employed knife-grinders who used to stay here, using the hydro-powered mills to grind and polish their knife blades.The nearby Gorges du Durolle have pretty forested paths

The old city centre of Thiers is worth a long stroll as you can sight many abandoned yet well-preserved medieval structures. One of the notable half-timbered houses is the Maison de l’Homme de Bois [21 rue de la Coutellerie] - a 15th century mansion that is named after an odd figurine that is carved on the façade of the left of the house.

 

 

 

 

 



THIERS STREET MAP:   1. Tourism Office (in Hôtel du Pirou)  2. Train station  3. Musée de la Coutellerie  4. Vallée des Rouets museum

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