Deep within France, just inside a French national volcanic park, is the medieval village of Thiers:
Manufaccturing more than 90% of all cutlery sold in France, the artisans have made this village not just the knife capital of France, but truly the knife capital of the world:
The village is home to literally dozens upon dozens upon dozens of shops run by knifemakers. The shop shown above sells custom handmade knives made by a family whose been living here and doing this for six generations!
So it was really exciting and unique for me to practice my French and purchase a pocketknife here, with handles made of Brazilian rosewood:
Interestingly, the inhabitants of this village are something of a language enclave, speaking a language (Auvergnat) derived from Langue d’Oc, one time quite important but now mostly extinct in France.