Knife Shopping on the French Riviera
A few years ago we day-tripped to a little coastal town in the south of France. On a small cobblestone alley near the water was a tiny, humble-looking shop - noted singularly with a sign above the door:
We found the address through a Google search I wasn’t interested in searching for. Knife hunting, to that point, had been Dan’s passion alone - a passion we had (I felt) already exhausted throughout the whole of the Iberian Peninsula.
And I do mean exhausted. We had been everywhere - warehouses, gas stations, industrial buildings, cafes. Most knife displays boasted a few interesting pieces - something mimicking a regional design used to castrate swine, mug the unsuspecting, or scare off grifters. Many of the knives were disappointing imported knock-offs, and the shops themselves filled with millions of other touristy tchotchkes - keychains, figurines, postcards, magnets...
This place was different, though, I could tell right away.
Nearing the door there was a line forming outside - an impressive array of all kinds of people, donning aprons and bathing suits, sandals, and boots.
And the alleyway seemed to come alive, before my very eyes. Geraniums blossomed in baskets hanging from limewashed stonework walls, delicate sheets, and personal undergarments danced in the breeze from the fire escapes directly above.
As I walked inside, my assumed boredom vanished instantly.
The shop was FULL.
Boys, girls, husbands, wives, young, old, locals, visitors. Everyone was looking for something specific, and everyone was finding exactly what they needed, or -didn't know they really wanted. Pocket knives, kitchen cutlery, blades for farming and animal husbandry, knives for fixing fences, for safety, for gifting, for spearing, for serving, for boasting, for displaying.
This shop was FULL.
Full of beauty, full of life, full of creativity… And ingenuity. Ingenuity, and process.... and patience... and time. Of humanity, conception, construction:
From the savage to the sublime. And back, then, again.
And we looked at each other and laughed out loud. And a tiny little dream was born.
A shop, in a city, for people from all walks of life… a shop, to remember, to write home about, to hunt down. A shop for butchers, and tourists, homemakers, and dreamers - for collectors, and hunters, chef’s and travelers.
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