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.
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.