When I was in France last fall, I took a wonderful cooking class with Rosa Jackson, and during the class I was introduced to a new sort of peeler. This is a very simple peeler, but it worked so nicely that I made sure to leave France with one of my own!
This traditional peeler, said Rosa, is the sort you find in every French kitchen. Every chef she knows peels his vegetables with a peeler just like this.
It's constructed very simply, rather like a paring knife. There's no ergonomically designed handle or swiveling blade. There's one blade, with a pointed tip that comes in handy for digging out potato eyes. There is a one-sided peeler cut into the blade.
This peeler fits snugly in the hand, and it lets you keep a close hold on whatever you're peeling. It's rather different from most peelers I have used, but I really liked the way it felt. I use it often now for apples, pears, and potatoes.
These traditional peelers can be found in the USA at Conran.
• Nogent Potato Peeler, $6
Related: Good Peeler: CUTCO Vegetable Peeler