As my fountain pen hobby has grown, I’ve been on a quest for the perfect paper. I’ve tried 2 A4 notepads, 1 A4 loose leaf pack, and 8 A5 notebooks.

At first, I tried a cream A4 loose leaf Tomoé River set and quickly followed it up with Clairefontaine Triomphe A4 notepad. The former was so thin that it couldn’t stand up to a wax seal. The latter was capable of handling a seal, but it surprisingly didn’t feel as smooth as the former.

After experiencing the A4 paper, I ventured into notebooks. I favored A5 size. I started with Clairefontaine. The paper was just like the Triomphe A4 notepad only lined and clothbound. I quickly realized that it was not easy to write in this notebook because it didn’t lay completely flat. Before attempting to fix that issue, I tried an Apica CD Premium, but the pages weren’t truly white as advertised, and it also suffered from the same issue with laying flat as the Clairefontaine. I did try a Goulet Pens A5 notebook, which is slightly thicker Tomoé River paper, but it didn’t lay flat either.

So, I tried wirebound solutions. I tried Clairefontaine side bound as well as Maruman Mnemosyne. I liked how these laid completely flat, but the side binding was an issue when I tried to write on the posterior side of the paper being that I am right handed. As a result, I ventured into top bound solutions from Clairefontaine and Rhodia. I even tried a top staple bound Rhodia notebook. The paper between the two brands is near indistinguishable, and I know Rhodia uses Clairefontaine paper in the Webnote, so it makes sense to me that they probably use the same paper in their other products. But the Rhodia seems less glossy—though this point may be my mind playing tricks on me.

At this stage, I picked up a white A4 Tomoé River notepad. I feel that it is the best paper overall, but I’m going to stick with the Rhodia No. 16 Top Wirebound Notebook for my notes. If I can get Tomoé River paper in a notebook that is top wire bound, I’d do it—I just haven’t found it yet!