First, I'll admit my bias. I prefer the French pattern knives to those typical of Germany or Japan, and carbon steel knives (not ""high carbon"" stainless) are my favorite. Yes, carbon knives must be washed by hand. Yes, they can rust if not dried well; and no, they will not stay shiny no matter what you do. But they will take a sharper edge, faster and more easily, than any other blade I've used. No question that the super hard steels used for some of the expensive (!) Japanese knives will hold a beautiful edge for a very long time, but creating that edge requires more sharpening equipment than I want to buy and more time than I want to spend.
Over the years, I have managed to collect a few carbon ""Four Star Elephant"" knives by Thiers-Issard. They are terrific, but I had never compared them to knives by Mexeur et Cie. Mexeur, like Issard, is one of the three producers of high quality carbon knives under the ""Sabatier"" name in Thiers, France (the third being K-Sabatier). The good news is that the Mexeur knife I bought from Sur la Table was about 20% less expensive that a comparable ""Elephant"" knife. The better news, at least so far, is that it is proving to be every bit as good; the fit and finish may even be a little better.
Bottom line? These are not show-off knives. They don't have fancy handles, they don't come in presentation cases, and they don't carry the name of a celebrity chef. They are ""go to"" knives - forged, full-tang, excellent balance, and comfortable handles. For me, this Mexeur et Cie knife is far superior to any of the comparably priced German stainless knives featured in most kitchen shops and catalogs