March 29, 2012

Let's Talk Paper


Loving letters, I've grown very particular about the paper on which I write. If you've received a letter from me in the last year, chances are it was written on ivory G. Lalo Vergé de France laid paper. It is hands down my favorite paper to write one. I like it so much, when I got my first job out of law school, I ordered 250 pages of it with matching envelopes for writing thank you notes.

The Vergé de France is a luxurious French paper. Differing from the American preference for 100% cotton in premier papers, the French prefer a blend. I read some time ago the French prefer 30% cotton and 70% wood pulp in their premier papers, as the cotton fibers add a nice feel to the paper but, because of the long fiber length, 100% cotton paper is too limp for French sensibilities. By blending cotton fiber with wood pulp, the French produce a stiff paper with a fine feel.

Possibly because of this unique composition, I believe Vergé de France is 25% cotton 75% wood pulp, the paper takes fountain pen ink very well. Ink dries on the paper almost immediately, even when applied with the wettest of nibs. 

Letter on G. Lalo

As it's sold through several online stores, popular with the fountain pen crowd, I thought everyone knew of the Vergé de France. And, naturally, I assumed everyone loved it the way I do. So, when I began listening to the Fountain Pen Geeks Podcast (which I highly recommend), I was confused when they gave all their devotion to Clairefontaine and Rhodia paper. I was also thrown when the hosts expressed their displeasure with J. Herbin inks. 

So, I took it upon myself to write the Geeks a letter. To make a point, I wrote the letter on Vergé de France with J. Herbin Cacao du Bresil, using my favorite pen. I noted the paper on which I wrote, and as to the inks, pointedly asked, "What gives?"

Well, I was positively tickled when the Geeks read my letter on the air. It spawned a ten minute conversation on the Vergé de France and J. Herbin ink. The consensus was: the ink is awesome, and the paper is superior to Rhodia and Clairefontaine for writing letters. Appropriately, the Geeks gave away a pad of the Vergé de France during the show. To top it off, Geek Eric sent me a response, written on champagne Vergé de France, in a matching envelope, with Cacao du Bresil, which he purchased after receiving my letter. Please forgive the Charlie Sheen reference, but: #WINNING.


FPGdan said...

Eric sent me a few sheets of that paper and now I'm even a convert. Seriously, thank you for suggesting this paper. Now, if we can just do something about J. Herbin's bottles...

-Lucas said...

I keep looking at this paper with a hopeful eye. I'm not quite a convert yet, but it is quite enjoyable to feel. The price knocks it out of every day use for letter writing for myself, but I want to get some for special occasions for sure.

Derrick said...

While I haven't tried this paper, I did order a triomphe pad and was not impressed. I sent it on to Limner and she Loves it. I prefer my original Crowne Mill Pure cotton and just ordered my refill along with a classic laid pad as well with envelopes from Goulet. I'm down to my last 5 sheets and need me some paper NOW. I shall have to give your fav a try on my next re-order.

James said...

@FPDan Hi-five. Love your podcast.

@Lucas I got your letter today! What's that thin paper you wrote on, onion skin?

@Derrick I haven't tried the Crown Mill yet, which do you prefer?

Derrick said...

So far I've only tried the pure cotton and am a big fan. I like feedback from the FP as I write. the Clair Triomphe felt to slick and the ink sits to long for me leading to slight smearing. The cotton just soaks up the ink with no feather or smear at all. I don't write with a really wet pen so really don't have anything to compare with. I'll send you a few sheets of both the 100% cotton and the laid when I get them in.

James said...

@Derrick, Thanks! It was supposed to be a surprise, but I'm sending you a sample of the Verge de France. We'll call it a swap.

Limner said...

Well gosh, paper I haven't tried. Thanks for not liking the Clairefontaine Dodson, D.. I've used three sheets for drawings I colored with art markers, and it's good for that as well. Let me know what you think of Verge de France. BTW, J. Herbin is my favorite ink so far. I ordered enough that I haven't had to restock yet.

Derrick said...

Never know until you try right? It's great paper and almost zero bleed from what I've seen, just not for me. But then again, if everyone liked the same thing there would be no variation - how boring :)

Curious, I like my A5 smaller tablets, hows about you folks. It's something I can comfortably hold in my hand on the couch or wherever and not have it flopping around.

Eliza Ward said...

Congratulations, James, on your rise to fame! I agree with you--Verge de France is excellent paper. My favorite is the bright yellow. Have you tried any of G Lalo's other lines?
Also, this conversation in the comments is interesting. I agree with Derrick about the Triomphe paper. There's something very "slick" about it--even though I've found that it does take fountain pen ink quite well. I haven't tried Crown Mill either but have wanted to for a long time. 100% cotton, eh? I might have to pick some of that up next time I see it!

James said...

I'm with Derrick, I prefer A5. It's the perfect size for letters.

@Eliza, thanks! It's a fun podcast. I have a reasonable supply of Triomphe, I like it because it's like writing on glass - takes inks incredibly well, and because it's bright white, displays the true color of whichever ink I'm writing with. My problem with the paper is that it's just so boring.

I only write with Triomphe when I really want to show off an ink color, or when I've made an envelope which won't match my other stationery.

Derrick said...

Paper on it's way. Just got it in at lunch.

The Laid is VERY close to yours. I think you will really like the Pure Cotton. I sent a few sheets and envelopes. I ordered laid and pure cotton envelopes this time as well.