Straight Razor Shaves in Paris

by Patrick Thuhn

A straight-razor shave is one of the great pleasures that a man can enjoy, a wonderful way to relax, and indeed used to be part of the ritual of barbering. To this day in southern Italy, any local barber will provide such a service reliably for as little as 4€ or 5€, and some men still go daily to the barber for a shave. In recent years, both in major U.S. cities as well as Paris, a few specialized barbers have reintroduced the service, albeit at a much higher price.

Alain Maître Barbier, at 8, rue St-Claude in the 3rd arrondissement (Métro: St-Sebastien-Froissart) is generally regarded as the leader in straight-razor shaving in Paris. The small two-chair salon, shared by Alain and Patrick, is a veritable museum of shaving, with a vast array of historical shaving instruments on display. Both barbers are extremely skilled in their art, and I have never received a single nick. In addition to the actual shave (two passes, with and against the grain), the procedure includes hot towels, creams, etc. The shop is closed Sunday and Monday. A shave is 30€, a haircut 28€. Appointments are essential and should be made at least one week in advance. Tel: 01 42 77 55 80

L’Atelier Gentleman at 17, rue Caulaincourt (near the Cimetière Montmartre, Métro: Place de Clichy or Lamarck-Caulaincourt) has the advantage of being open on Monday afternoon (14:00-20:00). There is only one barber, so appointments are essential. A shave is 31€, a haircut also 31€. Tel. 01 42 52 54 79

Les Mauvais Garçons, who, despite their name, are quite harmless, have two locations: at 60, rue Oberkampf in the increasingly trendy 11th arrondissement, and at 38, rue de la Verrerie in the men’s shop of the BHV department store. Appointments are essential, but can be booked only one week in advance. Both a shave and a haircut are 22€ at Oberkampf, but at BHV haircuts are 25€ and shaves 32€. Both shops are open on Mondays. Tel. Oberkampf 01 48 05 73 58, BHV 01 42 72 36 22. Both locations are geared toward a younger clientele than Alain or L’Atelier Gentleman.

An additional address, which I have not tried personally, is Patrick Gannerie, 8, rue de Wattignies, in the 12th arrondissement. Tel. 01 46 28 64 19.

A wide assortment of razors, shaving creams, shaving brushes, and other gear can be found at the men’s store of BHV (38, rue de la Verrerie, Métro: Hôtel de Ville), but the largest selection in Paris is at Planète-Rasoir, 58 rue de Clichy (9th arrondissement, Métro: Place de Clichy), which also has an extensive Web site.

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