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.

Join the conversation!

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

  • http://www.bobbyjayonfood.com/ Bobby Jay

    I have four Perceval 9.47 steak knives with olive wood handles. What a joy to use them! I much prefer the look and feel to Laguiole knives.

    I first encountered these knives at le Chateaubriand and bought them at the wonderful Coutellerie Kindal.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Lucky you! We have a set of Laguiole dinner knives that we really love from Benoît l’Artisan — his designs are more modern than most and we bought them from his workshop in the village of Laguiole, which makes them even more special. But I wouldn’t mind a set of 9.47 for variety!

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/guglielmo gu

    I should go to get my knifes sharpened too!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Absolutely, it makes such a difference in your daily cooking life!

  • Ana

    I live in Brazil and every once in a while a traditional knife sharpener (amolador) comes down the block with his long whistle that only they have. And I call at him from the window and run downstairs and he sharpens my knives (and scissors) on the sidewalk. Very handy.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That is a lovely custom, Ana! When I was growing up, there was also a knife sharpener (a rémouleur) pushing a cart down the street every once in a while, ringing a bell and shouting “Rémouleuuuuur !” Only trouble is, you can’t be sure the guy knows what he’s doing, so you have to take your chances.

  • Kristen @thekaleproject

    Thank you for this Clotilde! Our knives are almost 3 years old and in desperate need of sharpening so this is very helpful information (and something I would have put off for another 3 years!)

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      You won’t regret it! It’s almost like getting new knives. :)

  • http://picnicsparis.com Justin

    I’ve taken mine into the guys at Courty & Fils a number of times. They do a great job. When I worked at L’Arpege, they would take our knives into an MOF in the 16th to get them sharpened. Can’t remember the name though.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      I tried to find the name of that MOF but couldn’t find a reference. If you ever remember, I’m interested in the info!

      • Justin Kent

        So I was told that the MOF retired some months ago. I’ll report back when I find out who the Arpege guys are taking their knives to now.

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Thanks so much for finding out, Justin!

  • Rebeca

    My boyfriend likes to joke that our knives are my babies because I treat them with so much care. But they deserve it! Nothing worse than a dull knife, so we sharpen ours periodically.

  • http://twitter.com/phillamb168 Phil in France

    Oh, thanks for this. We have the Wusthof manual sharpener, and it does an OK job on the ‘normal’ blades, but it just destroys the santokus. I assume this knife shop can handle different angles?

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      My understanding is that they can handle Japanese knives, but not in the traditional way, so they would likely change the angle. It’s worth having a conversation with them about it!

  • Christina Oldenburg

    I too remember the rémouleur who went down he street (rue de l’Odéon) calling out for business. We didn’t use his services because: (a) we couldn’t get down to the street with our knives fast enough and (b) we weren’t quite sure he would do a proper job.

    I wish I had known about the shops you recommend.
    We just lived with dull knives.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Your “we just lived with dull knives” statement makes me laugh — so true of so many of us! :)

  • http://www.flickr.com/photos/guglielmo gu

    I ll try very soon one of the places you reccomended… I had to replace my paring knife.. and I did it, I bought a wusthof, found a deal in amazon and so I could afford it… but now my chef knife seems an axe! I have to bring it to sharpen!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      The exact same thing happened to me! I thought my knives were sharp enough until I got a new one and realized I’d been hacking at food. :)

      • guglielmo

        gonna take mine back on thursday… then I ll let you know how it become!

        • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

          Let me know what you think!

          • guglielmo

            I received my knife thursday and as soon as I was at home I tried it. Good! As I expected did not achieved a miracle (so my new knife perform still better) but my old sanelli http://www.sanelli.com/portale/catalog/articolo/8-coltelli/tvmlfgvszh-coltfrancese-cm18-premana.html chef knife gained new youth :D which I think is really good!

            about the details: I had to bring the knife on wednesday, the sharpener cam thursday morning he pick up the knives to sharpen and you can get it bak the thursday after… not really fast. But I have to move in the new flat this weekend so I had some stuff less :P .Oh! the price: it was 7 euro.

          • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

            Thanks for reporting back Guglielmo!

            Just to make sure I understand — you took them to the Courty guys, right? If so, I need to clarify things with them about the same-day service, as it is what they described to me.

          • guglielmo

            no i went to laguiole du marais! a different choice between the ones you suggested, cause it was more near to me.

          • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

            Got it — thanks!

  • kojaks43

    I have 3 Shun Kai brand knives. They come with a price tag so high, the maker includes free sharpening for life. You only pay round trip freight. That is the good part, the bad is it took almost 8 weeks to get the knives back. When they returned they were in pristine condition.
    A couple of months ago I decided the knives needed sharpening. This time I looked online of a sharpening solution that would not leave me knife-less for 8 weeks.
    I sourced a company called Burrbenders.They are located in Maryland. Their site, wwww.burbenders.com is easy to get around. All of my questions were answered and was able to send my knives to them, have them sharpened and returned in less than 1 week. I was a happy guy. The price was reasonable, The service and quality was better than Shun’s.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That sounds like a great service, thanks for sharing the tip. And indeed, eight weeks without your knives is a bit crazy. Do you have to send them to Japan?

      • kojaks43

        Not Japan. Somewhere in the Continental US. Seattle perhaps? I think the time lag was internal.

  • Expat Steve

    I bought a commercial knife sharpener online, made by Chef’s Choice. It is electric and has 3 stages, from coarse to fine. The knife goes into position at the correct angle, and as you pass it through, an edge is put on. The sharpening discs are replaceable, so should you, after some years, wear them down, you can get new ones. They come as a complete cartridge that goes in and out easily, then locks in place. I never have a dull knife…and neither do my friends.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      That sounds great, Steve. Is this the model you have? It’s an investment, but if you like your knives sharp year-round and you use it for your friends, the convenience is probably worth it.

  • Shelli

    There used to be a knife sharpener who set up at the northern end of the Richard Lenoir market on Sundays. I used him once, did a pretty good job on the dull knives that came with a rented apartment. Never went back after moving across the river though.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ Clotilde Dusoulier

      Ha ha! Love that you took in the rented apartment’s dull knives for sharpening. I hope the owner was grateful!

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