Now, I know most people don’t get all giddy when it comes to stationery, but I do- that’s just how I roll! A persons’ stationery tells you almost as much about them as their shoes do. Are they casual? Funny? Serious or just Plain Boring? Do they walk the walk and talk the talk (letterpress text on 100% cotton paper stock), or are they all talk and no action (generic clip art on 28 lb. Hammermill)? Everyone knows the value of having good quality, well-designed business cards. But what about social stationery and invitations? Getting a tepid invitation to a “fabulous” party is kind of like meeting a handsome French doctor, then noticing that he’s wearing Birkenstocks and socks – the potential is there, but you’re not sure if you want to make the effort to see it through.
With this in mind, it’s time to get thee to la papeterie!! First stop, Caractére in the 16th. The Manolo of paper shops! From stunning couture invitations to luxurious Italian leather desk accessories- this store has it all. Maybe you want a classic look for the Sunday brunch that you’re hosting- have note cards or invitations engraved with your monogram, or select a motif from their huge imprimerie catalog. If your style is more contemporary, you have the option of choosing a custom design from one of their exclusive graphic artists, like Veronique Deshayes. They also have a huge pen selection, including the Mont Blanc Greta Garbo (the signature stylo of style maven, Tamiko Zablith!)…
“Le Must” in Paris fine papers is Marie Papier in Montparnasse- if you’re a paper-holic like me, this is as close to heaven as you can get. Marie Papier is stocked from floor to ceiling with notebooks, albums, Japanese writing papers, single stationary sheets and envelopes in a whole host of colors and textures, announcement cards, pens, pencils, inks and gorgeous packets of note cards. In addition, they offer a bespoke invitation service, offering a multitude of papers and styles to choose from.
If you’ve got an itch to go completely DIY with your invitations, you must make a detour into l’Art du Papier. There are several of these stores around Paris, as well as an online store. They carry rubber stamps, inks, boxed stationery sets and scrapbooking materials, as well as the full line of Artoz papers. If you’re starved for inspiration, l’Art du Papier also hosts in-store classes and demonstrations.
While I appreciate the thought behind an e-invite just as much as the next girl, nothing beats the nostalgic jolt of excitement that I get when I see a hand-addressed invitation in my mailbox. These days, a paper invitation carries the same significance as a visiting card from a gentleman caller must have in Victorian times. In my book, a nice paper invitation = a party that’s not to be missed!