A touristic route retracing the history of the Opinel knife

The story of the Opinel knife started in the small hamlet Gévoudaz in the Arvan Valley in Maurienne (Savoy, France). It’s here, in the corner of his father’s tool making workshop that Joseph Opinel (1872-1960) creates the very first Opinel pocketknife in 1890.

Even though the Opinel knives are produced close to Chambéry (Savoy, France) since 1916, the Opinel family has stayed very attached to its roots. It’s thus with great pleasure that Opinel and the Opinel Museum present the touristic itinerary The Opinel Road!

The Opinel Road consists of 5 main steps and 8 sites. Map (c) Thomas Lemot.

The Opinel Road follows the Arvan Valley, connecting the Opinel Museum in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne with the Opinel Square in Albiez-le-Vieux (approximately 16km). Thanks to information panels placed in a unique Opinel frame, the visitors can dive into the history of the different sites.

The itinerary consists of 5 main steps:

1. The Opinel Museum

Installed in a former Opinel factory, the permanent and temporary exhibitions tell the story of the production of Opinel knives. A museum shop, a terrasse and a café embellish the visit. Every year, the museum welcomes more than 60.000 visitors.

2. The Opinel roundabout

The 3,83m-long Opinel knife is the biggest in the world! In 2002, the same year of its production, it was inscribed in the Guinness World Record.

3. The Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne skatepark

This DIY, citizens' initiative honours the historical connection between Opinel and the Arvan Valley with a street art interpretation of a Opinel knife used as a skating obstacle.

      

The three first steps of The Opinel Road (left to right): the Opinel Museum, the Opinel roundabout and the Versus skatepark. Photos (c) Alban Pernet.

4. Gévoudaz

In the heart of the original hamlet, the visitors are invited to explore the old Opinel workshops as well as the village’s important community places. To facilitate the visit, a walking path of 1,5km was created in the spring of 2021 in close collaboration with the SIVAV [Syndicat Intercommunal des Vallées de l’Arvan et des Villards]. This easy forest trail and the landscaping projects around the remains of the historical sites guarantee a safe visit.

         

The historical Opinel sites in Gévoudaz are today connected by a walking path. From left to right: the first factory from 1901, Joseph Opinel’s old house, the litlle Saint Grat chapel and Daniel Opinel’s workshop. Photos (c) Alban Pernet.

5. The Opinel Square in Albiez-le-Vieux

In 2011, a sculpture inspired by Opinel was mounted on central square in the commune of Albiez-Montrond. Created by Jean-Claude Opinel, this statue is situated only a few hundred meters of the cemetery where the earliest Opinel blacksmiths rest.

The Opinel Square is the last step of The Opinel Road. The nightly, blue light evokes steel. Photo (c) Alban Pernet.

For the youngest visitors, a booklet with games is available in the museum free of charge. Once the games resolved, the young explores can retrieve their free Opinel medal.

The visit of The Opinel Road is free.

For further information, please contact: musee@opinel.com / +33(0)4.79.64.04.78 (English spoken)

 

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