Celebrating 10 years
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.
Spending time in this shop can’t help but remind us of the art and beauty of writing by hand and creating something timeless.
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 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.
Many of their products are handcrafted in Europe and imported to them in the United States. If you are a lover of Italian-made goods, Papier Plume has an abundance of them; gorgeous writing papers, elegant pens, leather trimmed journals with handmade paper, and leather mini notebooks.
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. “
Rideau, who has an engineering background, began selling handmade cards while still in (Niort) France. When he came to the US,” I started selling my cards at Renaissance Festivals and then in 2001, at the French Market in New Orleans”, where he added sealing waxes and calligraphy supplies. In 2007, he felt it was a good time to put up his own permanent retail space and opened the shop at 842 Royal Street in a building considered a historical landmark…adding to the charm of the space.
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.”
“We get all ages that come in, completely fascinated with fountain pens and writing,” said Patrick. They get many customers who have never written with a fountain pen, but have a desire to learn more about writing. “I make sure that all of the employees take a class in calligraphy so they can speak to customers with some knowledge of writing and hopefully show them some things that can be achieved with a little practice. “ (Quote from Forbes)
They also keep a station that always has a dip pen, paper and ink for customers to just walk up to and try. “You can often see people’s eyes light up [if they] have never written with this type of pen, and they become very curious about the rest of our products. “ (Forbes)
“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”.
“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.”
The company has even introduced its own line of New Orleans-themed inks recently. Names such as Mardi Gras Indians Purple, Street Car Green and Sazerac—an orange color recalling the famous cocktail purportedly invented in New Orleans.
One of the newest private label inks: Red Beans and Rice. A true New Orleans staple.
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:
What a wonderful shop and post!