Tag Archives: carnet

Dubois Paris, French Art Supplies, and Learning Something New

I have not been to Dubois, but it will definitely be on my list for the next time I visit Paris. It is an art supply store that has been in business since 1861 and from what I can see on their website, they have some really cool stuff. (Check out the Cabinet de curiosités section of their website for some totally non-notebook related goodies.)

As for notebooks… they carry quite a few brands of sketchbooks, including one I hadn’t heard of: Dalbe.

Dalbe turns out to be yet another French company selling art supplies, including some of their own brand. They also have stores in Paris. Oddly enough, I couldn’t find these particular sketchbooks on the Dalbe website, but did see something interesting from Hahnemuhle!

“Report and Art Book”– not so sure about the size or the cover overhang, but love that red stitching!

But it’s the description of the first set of sketchbooks at Dubois that intrigued me: “à la française?” “à l’italienne?” Qu’est-ce que c’est? I’d never seen notebooks described this way before, but it turns out that it is French for “portrait” and “landscape.” I am curious as to the origin of these terms– is there some traditional thing where French artists preferred the vertical portrait format and Italian ones preferred the horizontal landscape format? In looking at art history, I’d think both countries have had plenty of artists working in each format… Please chime in with a comment if you can shed any light on this!

A Notebook with a Link to Van Gogh?

I was trying to find online images of Van Gogh’s small sketchbooks (the supposed “moleskines”) when I found the images below. The notebook pictured did not belong to Van Gogh, but was rather a sort of logbook kept at a cafe in Arles that Van Gogh visited. The notebook has been cited as evidence for the authenticity of a portfolio of Van Gogh drawings that were discovered a year or two ago (the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam claim the drawings are just imitations of his style). The focus of the story is mainly on the drawings but I’d love to get a better look at that notebook! It definitely looks like the sort of notebook the Moleskine brand was modeled after, pocket sized, with squared pages.

Source: VIDEO. Polémique Van Gogh: l’auteur de la découverte présente les dessins – Monaco-Matin



Isabelle Moreau Notebooks

Isabelle Moreau makes some gorgeous notebooks and albums with leather and cloth covers. Not cheap, but beautiful!

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“Notebooks, photo albums or even agendas, discover our unique craft of paper shop items, handmade and 100% made in France !”

See more at Catalogue : pick and customize your own paper shop products – Isabelle Moreau

In Search of Notebooks: Paris and Amsterdam

I recently took a trip to Paris and Amsterdam. Searching for notebooks wasn’t the sole purpose of the trip, of course, but I did a better job than usual of preparing for the journey with some research on places to buy notebooks.

In Amsterdam, I had less time to devote to stationery shopping, as I’d never been there before and wanted to see all the sights. But I did make a point of visiting P. K. Akkerman, a stationery and pen shop I first heard of via this blog post. The shop has since moved from the location described in that post, and I didn’t get to see the ladies with the precise manicures and hairdos, but there was quite a nice selection of notebooks, and an even better display of amazing high-end pens.


One of the other stationery shops I’d hoped to see in Amsterdam had also either moved or closed, so my other notebook spottings were all in newsstands or museum shops. At the Stedelijk museum, I saw a wonderful exhibition of the artist Marlene Dumas, and bought a lovely item that is part art book, part notebook, I guess– some of Dumas’ paintings are interspersed with blank pages in a small softcover booklet.

In Paris, I had more leads to follow and spent a good part of a day wandering around tracking them down. My favorite shop was Marie Tournelle, a small store that is just crammed with cute stationery and school supplies.


The museum shop at the Centre Pompidou also has an amazing papeterie section. I loved visiting the Sennelier store– the selection of sketchbooks wasn’t all that dazzling, but the rest of the art supplies will blow your mind, and it’s wonderfully old-fashioned. I loved the color charts along the stairs.


Papier + had some beautifully bound journals with rainbow pages– expensive, though.


A store called Merci had a small stationery section with a few cool things– along with some great (expensive) clothes and shoes and selected home and garden items. And to top it all off, there was even an interesting notebook sitting right on the desk in the AirBnB apartment I stayed in in Paris. It looked like it was quite old, with numbered graph paper pages separated with thin sheets of tissue, as if it was meant to be a lab notebook where you’d make copies of each page.


Here’s the stack of notebooks I brought home from my trip. Not a bad haul! I’ll do a more detailed review on the notebooks themselves soon.

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See my Flickr album for even more photos.

Alibabette Editions

I spotted this brand when I was in Paris– they have some very cute designs:

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See more at their website.

Like These Notebooks? You Can’t Have Them!

How frustrating! I found this link to Avalanche Print via a Google alert and loved the look of the notebooks, but they are no longer for sale! It sounds like it was a small company who didn’t have the resources to continue, but I hope they’ll resurrect it someday!

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See more at Avalanche Print.


French Factory Worker’s Notebook

Isn’t this a lovely old notebook? Seems to be phone numbers and assorted jottings kept by a guard named Andre who worked at a now-defunct Renault factory, from what I was able to translate of the website where I found it.

“Prenez un bleu et suivez moi à travers le carnet de André. Lui était gardien, donc pas de problème pour rentrer. Ce petit carnet qui a du être dans la poche depuis le début de son poste ou au début pour retenir ce qui devrait être des numéros de téléphone pour joindre les quatre coins du Trapèze.”

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Read more (in French) at A quelques pas de l’usine: valise_11.

A French Artist’s 1948 Diary

The 1948 diary below belonged to Martin Vivés, an artist who lived in southwestern France. He also seems to have been a museum curator there in the 1940s-1960s, and he met some famous artists including Raoul Dufy, as shown in the notes made in the diary. March 2 shows the phrase “visite Dufy.

It’s an interesting-looking diary. I can’t figure out why it would have that cut-out in the middle…

Read more (in French) at Raoul Dufy (1877-1953) « Martin Vivès.

Notebook with Paris Transit Maps

Oh the wonderful things you can stumble across online… an old notebook with transit maps of Paris!  I love the composition book look, typography, and the design of the maps! Very cool… if this online auction hadn’t ended long ago, I would have snapped it up!




“Carnet format 10 cm x 16,8 cm – pages blanches lignées, sans écriture. le carnet contient 30 découpes d´environ 14 cm correspondant à différents trajets. Bon état d´ensemble, parfois de petits défauts pour les découpes.”

See more at Carnet vierge “Société des transports en commun de la Région Parisienne” contenant 30 découpures Plans de lignes – Delcampe.net.

Le Papier fait de la Résistance

A nice-looking clothbound notebook, with a bit of a twist– the elastic wraps around sideways at the top:


See more at Carnets classiques Gris Souris, carnet de note, croquis, sketchnote – Le Papier fait de la Résistance.