Oo, and in a very real sense la la

by Scribble Monboddo

French stationery always seems ineffably cool, somehow. Good old Clairefontaine give us some of the best ink-friendly paper there is, and canny Calepino provide, well, classic cardboard.

There's a lot of cardboard on display here too, from the buff on the outside cover to the classic red inside flyleaf, both of which are neatly debossed in letterpress style. Slightly narrower than A5 (but just as tall) it's tangibly high-quality, and as far from digital as it gets.

Twentieth-century design notes extend inside too, with very groovy orange rulings, and red binding thread. It perhaps doesn't sound like it should work, but it really does - and if it looks a bit like something which could have been sold in a Parisian back street seventy years ago, that's hardly a bad thing.

But of course we don't buy these things just to look at. It's rather lovely to write in too. Naturally it has been tested with plenty of ink and a nice nib, and fared reasonably well actually, with barely any feathering - although there is enough bleed-through that you might not be in a hurry to write on the reverse of the page. With graphite, though, Calepino's paper stock is perfect. Pull out a posh pencil, and writing in the No.5 is the real deal. It feels right, works beautifully, and - like Chanel No.5 - you could probably take it back to 1921 in a time machine and get away with it. Formidable!