Back-To-School Goodies: Clairefontaine “Back To Basics” 1951 Notebook

IMG_2604I picked up this notebook because I needed some fountain-pen-friendly paper for taking notes in class — the idea being, of course, that a nice pen and good paper will encourage me to actually take thorough notes!

192 pages
14.8x21cm and 9x14cm
+1 Bleed Reduction
+1 Feathering Reduction

I’m used to the cream-colored Clairefontaine paper in my Rhodia webnotebook, so I did not expect how big a difference this white paper makes! It really lets the ink shine! Otherwise, the paper is just as smooth and cushy as that which Rhodia uses. Dry time is a bit slow, as I expected.

IMG_2606I got the cloth-bound version of the notebook — the covers are a heavy paper or cardstock with a texture that reminds me of watercolor paper, and the spine is a matching, heavy-duty canvas fabric into which the 96 sheets are glued.This binding results in a very stiff spine: each page has to be individually trained to lay flat. I’m not enamoured with it, but it’s fine for a notebook.

IMG_2610The corners are beveled, so they’re less likely to get crushed in your bag. It’s a nice touch.

IMG_2611And you have to admit: it’s a pretty notebook! They designed it to be reminiscent of vintage French notebooks. Mine is the coral version, which is a very rich and unique color, accented with a buttery yellow diagonal cross-hatching and blank space to write name, subject, semester, etc. The inverted triangle with the Art Deco-style Clairefontaine logo is emblazoned on both the front and back of the book, but it’s so nicely designed that it doesn’t strike me as obnoxious, like some branding does.

IMG_2607My everyday writers do pretty well with this paper, both my Pilot Precise V5 and my Kaweco Sport EF with Kaweco royal blue ink, which is my primary notetaking pen (as opposed to the AL Sport with medium nib, as most of this review was written with). The Pilot G2 1mm performs well, too. I don’t use it often because the tip is so broad, but it occurred to me I’d never tested gel ink on Clairefontaine paper before. While this ruling is about 2mm too wide for my tastes, it does accommodate broader tips and nibs!

Obviously, I also picked up a pocket sized (9x14cm) version of the notebook. This is staple-bound and much more flexible, though it’s a little weird to have such nice paper in such an informal binding.

IMG_2608I think this will be my next pocket notebook once I finish up my current Field Notes.

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