A few weeks ago, I joined my husband on his business trip to Paris where I did my best to help the French economy recover. My mission was to buy as much beautiful paper as I could stuff in the suitcase in one week, and perhaps take in a few sights as well.
First stop was the fabulous bookbinding supply store, Relma, where you enter into a room that is brimming with hand marbled papers, stack after stack, all neatly organized so you don't have to hunt too long for a particular pattern or color. Here are just a few of the sheets that I chose; it was hard to decide, for I loved them all . . . but in the end, I narrowed it down to about 10 sheets. After all, this was only the first stop!
Thanks to a more favorable exchange rate with the euro, these beauties cost about the same as a nice sheet of hand marbled paper at Hollanders or Paper Source. Loving these papers is an expensive habit. Learning how to make marbled paper is definitely on my "to do" list this year, and I am hoping to take a class to kick-start my quest.
Another stop on the paper quest in Paris was an unexpected find: the Japanese Cultural Center, near the Eiffel Tower. The ground floor of the center features a shop with all things Japanese, including screened papers, origami paper and supplies,, and many traditional craft items. When I visited the center, I had already had two days of speaking French under my belt, and felt strangely empowered to buy an origami book printed in French, but with lots of illustrations, of course. Most of the origami books there were printed in Japanese, so the French version seemed the safer choice. Here, I acquired several enormous sheets of screen printed paper and some packages of origami sheets that I have not seen in the U. S.
Two small shops yielded more finds: Marie Papier, and l'Art du Papier. Most of the papers I purchased at these places were screen printed loktas, Indian prints -- patterns that appealed to me visually, and that I had not seen at any of my U. S. stores. At the end of the week, I had about 35 new sheets to bring home.
Here's a tip for bringing back paper from your travels. Take an empty, large (3" to 4" diameter) chipboard tube with you for the return trip. I was able to roll about 30 sheets to go inside the tube; the rest were wrapped around the outside of the tube, then placed in a plastic bag. Extra large sheets can be folded in half and then rolled into the tube. Even many sheets weigh very little; I carried the tube on the plane because I could not bear the thought of it being lost if the luggage went astray. When you get home, unroll the paper on a large table or other flat surface, and apply weights (I used book cloth covered bricks) to the edges to help the paper relax.
There were other adventures in Paris, to be continued in later posts.