Located on a bright and airy corner, at 842 Royal St., in the beautiful and historic French Quarter, Papier Plume has been called a writers dream store. To quote one customer …“pens and an actual huge selection of writing inks, inkwells and cartridges. I mean, in this day and age, who does that!? Exquisite European stationery, wrapping papers, calligraphy sets, gorgeously bound journals and the like. Lovely, lovely shop in the French Quarter.”
Stopping in this pretty shop can’t help but remind us of the art and beauty of writing by hand and creating something timeless with quality materials. Owner and proprietor, Patrick Rideau says, “sure, it is true that you can use an ordinary ballpoint pen to compose your note or letter, but it lacks the aesthetic pleasure that comes from penning your message with a quill, glass dipping pen or fine writing instrument, folding your hand-made stationery paper and stamping your own seal insignia into a pool of sealing wax. “ If you’ve never used a fountain pen, you can try one here, and feel like Dickens for a minute or two.
The ancient art of affixing ones initials or seal into a pool of colored wax on the envelope has been resurrected here. The use of seals on letters and documents can be traced back to the Old Testament and Papier Plume’s owner and staff will be happy to teach you that art. They stock an array of Italian made seals and a large assortment of richly colored waxes.
A little blurb from their website gives a hint at their mission statement: “We are strongly committed to providing quality products and personalized service for people who want to add a touch of elegance and tradition to their hand written message or correspondence.”
Some of their products are handcrafted here in the US; others are handmade in Europe and imported to them here in the United States. If you are a lover of Italian-made goods, Papier Plume has an abundance of them of them; gorgeous writing papers, elegant pens, leather trimmed journals with handmade paper, and leather mini notebooks are just a sampling.
Patrick reminisces, “This all started back when I was still in Europe and making handmade origami cards and photo albums. Originally, I am from France and began going to the trade shows to find paper that I could use for the cards and albums. I loved Italy so much, that I decided to take a road trip. I really wanted to see the paper manufacturers and how they were making their paper. I kept buying paper from all the different companies and came back to France with about 300lbs of beautiful Italian paper! Rossi, became the company that I began using primarily because the quality and design were exactly what I was looking for. “
“ When I moved to America, the business kept evolving and expanding. First, I started with Renaissance Festivals all over and then started selling in the French Market in New Orleans. We began our business in 2001 at the French Market in New Orleans. It was almost 8 years later, in 2007, that we felt it a good time to put a permanent roof over our heads and opened our shop at 842 Royal Street. I opened Papier Plume and knew that Rossi would be a prime feature of the store. Rossi is one of the biggest sellers of the products that we carry. “
And of the Rossi products, “the Fleur de Lys design and the initial cards are the bestsellers. The Fleur-de-Lys (Lily Flower) is not only the official symbol of the city of Florence, Italy, it is strongly associated with the city of New Orleans. It graces everything from our flag to the logo of our football team, the New Orleans Saints”.
If you fall in love with something in the shop and want to replenish your stock or are experiencing remorse over walking away from that lovely paperweight or pen, never fear; you won’t have to make a trip to New Orleans to satisfy that urge. Luckily, Papier Plume has a website.
On Valentine’s Day, they will even teach you how to write a love letter or poetry for your beloved….they have their own personal love letter consultant and noted poet.
“Many people come to New Orleans to get engaged and frequently come back to get married here. There are a large number of calligraphers here that get commissioned to do the invitations by hand. The Rossi cards with the inserts are perfect for these invitations. Many of the conversations that take place in the store is the amazement of how we have evolved away from writing and spending so much time in front of a screen that we have almost forgotten how to write. The beautiful paper provides a medium for people to be reminded of how much a personal note means to someone.”
What is Patrick’s favorite thing about Papier Plume? ”The customers. They come in and are always immediately saying, ‘Wow! I feel like I am in Italy!’ My customers confirm to me every day that I made the right decision to continue with my passion of this business. “
So, a little bit of France, a lot of Italy, in the amazing city of New Orleans… what’s not to love!
For more info on Papier Plume or to order from their web site, visit: