It’s the week of La Rentrée in Paris, the return to the rhythm of city life, the start of a new school and work year. And one of Parisians’ favourite rituals in the time-honoured tradition that is La Rentrée is to stock up on beautiful stationery.
Which is easy to do in Paris, where papeteries are as plentiful and as pretty as pâtisseries. Here are ten to visit the next time you’re in town …
You can’t miss Buci News, with its cheery bumblebee-yellow façade — and you shouldn’t. Inside is a fun selection of notebooks and novelty pens, along with inspired souvenirs (ribbon-twirled or diamanté-studded Eiffel Towers, for instance). It’s fabulously located just off Rue de Buci, with its plentiful café terraces that are perfect for writing and whiling the day away.
Buci News, 4 Rue Grégoire de Tours, 75006
Just a few steps east you’ll come across Grim’Art, in another wonderful location: within the historic Cour du Commerce Saint-André. (The quaint strip is, in fact, where the French Revolution arguably began; a plaque here goes so far as to name it a shrine [haut lieu] to the Revolution: at no. 8, the journalist Jean-Paul Marat printed his radical newspaper L’Ami du Peuple; just across the way, at no. 9, was the workshop in which Dr Guillotin tested out his decapitation machine; and Le Procope, Paris’s oldest café, was the go-to for philosophers and the place where the motto ‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité’ was said to have been first uttered.) Grim’Art appears to hail from this older world, with its artisanal leather notebooks and calligraphy pens that seem to want to inspire philosophical (perhaps even revolutionary?) thoughts.
Grim’Art, 59-61 Rue Saint-André des Arts (in the passage), 75006
If you’re looking to add some whimsical touches to your home office, head a few blocks south to this rabbit hole of a homewares store. Among the delightfully illustrated cushions, trinket trays, globes and wall panels, you’ll also find sweet stationery buys like gorgeously packaged watercolour trays and baguette pens.
Marin Montagut, 48 Rue Madame, 75006
Head back north, up Rue Dauphine and over Pont Neuf until you reach, at the halfway point of the bridge, the entrance to Place Dauphine. Pop through, and you’ll soon find the doorway to what is one of the most esteemed Parisian papeteries, having been in operation since 1830. It has long been the go-to for lawyers who work in the nearby law courts and offices, but its colourful selection is far from staid. The legendary author Colette famously sourced the powder-blue paper on which she wrote at Gaubert; you can still buy it, as she did, by weight.
Papeteries Gaubert, 28 Place Dauphine, 75001
Artists of all kinds — student, aspiring, professional — have flocked to this well-stocked bazaar of art supplies since 1922, but if you don’t have an inner Picasso you can always buy someone else’s art in the form of a greeting or postal card. And it’s a lovely excuse to trip down the Passage Choiseul, which retains its understated charm of yesteryear.
Lavrut, 52 Passage Choiseul, 75002
Another gem of a papeterie tucked away in one of Paris’s old covered arcades is Miss Parfaite, which is located in the olde-worlde Passage Verdeau.
Miss Parfaite positively sparkles in this fabulously dusty atmosphere, a jewel of a boutique that sells cards so pretty you’ll never want to use email again, pastel wax seals that Madame de Pompadour would have swooned over, and a glossy assortment of office-enhancing bibelots such as rose-glass paperweights.
Miss Parfaite, 22 Passage Verdeau, 75009
Follow the boulevards east around to the Upper Marais, and you’ll come to Rue des Filles du Calvaire, home to contemporary Parisian brand Papier Tigre, beloved for its vivid prints and graphic takes on all work and school essentials, from pens to planners to pochettes. Even its scissors and staplers are more akin to cutting-edge creations.
Papier Tigre, 5 Rue des Filles du Calvaire, 75003
A stroll down to the Lower Marais might take you past the Musées Picasso, Cognacq-Jay and Carnavalet, putting you in even more of an artistic mind. Lucky then that one street alone offers up three great stationery go-tos. One is Papier +, where you’ll find chic, fabric-covered journals, photo albums and storage boxes that have been crafted by local artisans.
Papier +, 9 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004
This utter charmer of a boutique sells stationery for those who are more romantically inclined. Hunt out antique delights like inkwells and sealing stamps, along with unique buys such as handmade bookmarks, file holder imprinted with old Parisian and scenes, calligraphy stamps and sets, and paperweights encasing dried flowers. There’s also paper, of course, and of all kinds, from papyrus to vellum, from marble to daintily illustrated cards and sheets.
Mélodies Graphiques, 10 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004
Paper is art here, reimagined into myriad forms, made by hand in Japan. You can find it in books and boxes, as well as in reams of gorgeously textured sheets — some are even pressed with dried fruit and vegetables. This gallery-like store also sells inspired creations of various paper artists. The paper flowers are particularly lovely! One for those purists who like their workspace as zen as possible.
Calligrane, 6 Rue du Pont Louis-Philippe, 75004