Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Notes on Rhodia notebooks

When I used to go on family holidays to France as a child, I'd always get a Rhodia notepad or two to doodle in. I used to love French stationery in general and the iconic orange Rhodia notepads in particular. The square graph paper pads came in a variety of sizes and were held together by nothing more than a staple or two at the top. There were score marks towards the top for easy folding over. Over the years I stopped using them for one reason or another, migrating to other alternatives, from Filofax to the rather pretentious Moleskine with its Chatwin and Hemingway lineage.

But on a recent visit to France, my love for Rhodia was reignited, mainly perhaps because this time round I couldn't actually find any Rhodia notebooks. In place of Rhodia were generic, supermarket brands such as Bloc, Oxford and Casino*. It took me searching in dozens of tabacs and Hyper U supermarkets to track a genuine Rhodia pad down. Rhodia now do other types of notebooks, including, inevitably, the Moleskine kind, but my favourite remains their simple orange pad, which they've been producing since the 1930s.

Next time, though, ahem, I think I'll get my Rhodia online from Ryman.

Related: I so want this gorgeous French stationery kit.

*Supermarkets do this all the time, don't they? They copy the packaging of popular brands – 'parasite packaging', according to the Mail – apparently in the hope that shoppers will mistake them for the real thing. They must take us for idiots. We buy them because they're a fraction of the price, not because we think they're the real thing. And as much as I hate most brands, it must make them awfully pissed off, spending millions on branding, advertising and packaging, just to see Sainsbury's replicate their packaging for next to nothing. Apparently there's no law against it. The supermarkets have all the power.

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