Paper-Papier is located at 178 Clarence Street in Ottawa’s famous Byward market. It is a lovely store and has many fans, some of whom have already said a few kind words about it, but I thought I would focus on their Fountain Pen and Ink related products.
As you enter the store many people will notice how beautiful the store is. It is well lit, well decorated and most importantly well stocked with paper of every colour. The store is elegant and very well configured. I am drawn, of course, to the rear corner where the glass cabinets containing the Fountain Pens, Inks and Sealing Wax are kept. They carry a variety of brands and a large selection of each.
There are pens from Monteverde, Waterman, Lamy, Diplomat and Shaeffer. The Day I visited the store co-owner Gary Stern was happy to show me the newly arrived Faber-Castells. The pens are well displayed and lit and the staff is more than happy to open up the cabinets and let you have a good look (and feel) at your potential purchase.
The ink selection is also quite good as they carry Waterman, Lamy and a large selection of J. Herbin. You should be able to find an ink for any taste or mood. One interesting find was a bottle of J. Herbin’s anniversary ink, 1670 Rouge Hematite. There are conservative business blues and blacks and adventurous reds and greens. Most of the inks are available in bottles but there are some cartridges available.
Pens and inks are great but for your fine instrument to perform at its best you need proper paper. In case you couldn’t guess from the store name, they have whatever you could need. They carry a HUGE variety of papers, but the ones that most Fountain Pen users are familiar with are; Rhodia, Clairefountaine and G. lalo. My personal favourite is the Clairefountaine Triomphe pads that I love to use for my correspondence. I was also happy to learn from Gary that anything that the suppliers carry that isn’t in stock can be ordered. I will be taking him up on this as I am anxious to try some of Clairefountaine’s Seyes ruled notebooks.
One of my favourite aspects of Paper-Papier is the personal touch. I love going in, being greeted and browsing with the knowledge that the staff is always glad to answer questions or to demonstrate a product. Some of the pens and inks they carry can be found online for slightly less, but when you are looking at buying a pen and spending a significant amount of money on it (especially for first time buyers) it is really great to be able to handle the pen and feel its weight and fit before purchasing. This is the service and intangible qualities embodied in a brick and mortar store like Paper-Papier.