In Laguiole you can watch craftsmen and women of unrivalled skill while they work with their hands, their convictions, their memories and their imagination. Steel blades forged and tempered locally, handles made of animal horn, ebony, boxwood or mineral acrylic: today as in times past, the famous sprung folding knife used by the peasant farmers of the Aubrac is made only by hand to a design of the maker's inspiration.
Often copied but never equalled, the Laguiole knife has joined the 21st century with designer ranges, limited-edition numbered series and revivals of older models. It has inspired designers such as Philippe Stark, Sonia Rykiel, Courrèges and Yann Pennor’s, all big names who have for example designed collections for La Forge de Laguiole.
The feel of it relieved homesickness
If the Laguiole knife has acquired a tremendous reputation, it is also because it is intimately and emotionally associated with its birthplace, the unspoilt, wide-open spaces of the Aubrac.
In the 19th century, many from the region went to Paris to escape the harsh winters, working in the capital as water carriers, coal merchants and café waiters. In their pocket they always had at least one knife, made back home in Laguiole. It is said that the feel of it made them feel less homesick. The Laguiole knife became a sign of recognition between these self-exiled workers. And when you wanted to thank a friend you gave them your knife, your most precious possession.
These days, giving someone a Laguiole knife is still a significant gesture. You only give one to someone you love, truly and sincerely, like a talisman that fits neatly in the palm of your hand.