Laguiole, a prestigious folding Knife

The Laguiole knife, an object-tool whose reputation is second to none

Laguiole is the capital of cutlery in Aubrac, a region of central France. Most people think that knife manufacturing in Laguiole is an ancient tradition that has adapted and been mastered over the centuries! Surprisingly, it is not!

The Bee, one of the distinctive signs of a true Laguiole Knife


March 7, 2012 4 comments

The Bouquinistes-Book Sellers along the Seine River

Bouquinistes, a trade that goes back to the Middle-Ages and is unique to Paris

The story has it that a boat transporting loads of books sunk near Notre-Dame Cathedral.

The sailors swam ashore taking with them as many books as they could and sold them to the passersby to make up for the wages they had lost. They certainly found the sale lucrative enough to start making a regular living from it.


Bouquinistes' stalls near Notre-Dame Cathedral

Since then, we are used to seeing the booksellers along the Seine and they have become one of the many iconic symbols of Paris.


February 29, 2012 6 comments

Shop signs, a tradition that goes back to the 13th century

In France shop signs served as house numbers until the French Revolution. The first signs appeared in the early 13th century and were coat of arms. Carved above the main entrance door, they indicated private houses or mansions.

shop sign, teashop sign

Sign advertising a Salon de Thé - Tearoom

Inns and hostels soon followed the example so that their provincial and foreign customers could find them easily. The use of signs increased during the 14th century to become common a century later when every house, inn, restaurant, hostel and shop had its own.


February 10, 2012 4 comments

From rural Mali to the world

Yaya Coulabaly is part of a group called Fasokan Segou which uses the Internet to connect with the world outside Mali. Here he tells us more about the project, and life in rural Mali.

Hello Yaya, thank you for taking the time of answering our questions. Can you briefly introduce yourself to our readers?

Hello and first of all a big thank you to Eddie Avila from Rising Voices and Lucy Chatburn from PocketCultures for giving me the opportunity to talk of rural Mali and our blog.

Yaya Coulibaly

My name is Yaya Coulibaly, I’m 27 and am agronomist (agricultural technician and engineer). I play football and love soft music as it allows me to work on my data without losing focus.


September 23, 2011 1 comment

Letter from Basra, Iraq

Dear S.

A few days ago I arrived in Basra – upon stepping out of the plane, the heat slapped me in the face. Captured, from this very moment on my body has been dictating since then my daily routine.

Camels on the road into Basra


September 9, 2011 5 comments

The Beach Culture in Sanur, Bali

Until I moved to a proper beach town, I didn’t really realize how different the beach culture is from country to country, or even city to city.

In Ipanema, Rio, for example, the beach is for tanning and playing volleyball, for surfing and partying. In Sanur, Bali, the beach has its own personality- distinct and fantastic in its own right, but more quiet and subdued. It’s a place for a long walk, stopping to pick up flowers from the path; it’s a place to sit and have a long, lazy lunch of nasi goreng; to ride your bike and watch it all unfold. (more…)

September 7, 2011 3 comments