The Laguiole knife is a high-quality traditional Occitan pocket-knife, originally produced in the town of Laguiole in the Aveyron region of southern France.
The word "Laguiole", pronounced "la-yoll", is a generic term. Thanks to their elegant and distinctive lines, as well as fine craftsmanship and expensive materials, they have achieved the status of a design classic and are sold for high prices, sometimes running into hundreds of dollars.
Classically there is a single blade, but sometimes a corkscrew or some other implement is added. This necessitates an even slimmer cutaway handle, the shape of which is fancifully known as the "lady's leg", the bolster at the base resembling a foot.
There is much mythology about the insect depicted on the catch. Some say it represents a fly or a horse-fly, something familiar to peasants in the rural Laguiole area, which is known for cattle breeding. The Laguiole catch is often designated "la mouche" ("the fly") in French, but this could be linked to a lock designation in old French from earlier knives (most modern designs are slip joint knives that do not feature any locking system).
Others say the insect is a bee. One story states the use of the bee, an imperial symbol, was granted by Napoleon in recognition of the courage of local soldiers. This story is popular but there is little evidence for it.
There are about 109 production steps for a one-piece knife, about 166 for a two-piece one, and about 216 for a three-piece model.
The prestigious Laguiole iconography has been taken up as a visual theme for various other implements, so that one can now buy, for example, a "Laguiole" corkscrew, spoon, or steak-knife set.