Clairefontaine Basics Notebook

Karen Doherty, VP of Exaclair, Inc., graciously sent me this Clairefontaine Large Tan Clothbound Basics Notebook for review. I personally really enjoy using this notebook, not only because of its great, compact size, but also because it has a lovely, elegant design. In essence, it is the epitome of practicality, as it contains beautiful, excellent quality 90g Clairefontaine paper, along with a functional, yet attractive, design. Let’s explore this wonderful notebook, shall we?


For all you journal lovers out there, you’ll be pleased to discover that this notebook can, in fact, lay perfectly flat on virtually any surface! It’s cover has a smooth, satin finish, and is of a tan, hardboard material. I find the delicately subtle creases on the hardboard cover to be actually very nice and somewhat reminiscent of leather. As indicated by the name of the notebook, this journal is clothbounded, a wonderful trademark of Clairefontaine. The book is made in France, and contains 96 sheets, or stated otherwise, 192 pages. Unfortunately, the first page of this notebook, as it is with most others, is glued/attached to the cover page. And of course, this first page is wasted, which to some degree bothers me.


The following pictures are of the cover and the clothbinding of the notebook:


Intricate, yet subtle, embossing of the Clairefontaine logo located on the front cover.


Traditional notebook/journal binding.

Dark brown clothbinding.

In addition, the paper quality of this Clairefontaine is great. Clairefontaine paper is suggested to be the best paper in the entire world for writing – and I am almost entirely convinced that this is true. I managed to do a writing test with various inks, and I have to say, there is very limited feathering and virtually no bleed through. Thus, rest assured, your precious fountain pens and their inks will definitely eat up this paper just as my pen did. However, I do have a caveat. For those of you who dislike the off-white, or extremely bright white, color of Clairefontaine’s notebooks, this notebook does have incredibly white paper. In addition, one of the things that I do not like about the notebook is the lining. I find it to be really bold, and a very unattractive shade of blue. These are just some minor things that I would like to point out.

As always, this Clairefontaine paper is fountain pen friendly, as indicated by my new Lamy Safari Blue Medium Nib. Oops, it seems I made a little smudge a few lines back, but that’s ok! I like the bright white paper, my personal preference, but the lines look a tad bit awkward when matched up against this pen. There is absolutely no bleed through and/or feathering on this premium 90g Clairefontaine paper. Shall we experiment with a few more colors and pens?

Overall, this is a relatively solid notebook. I love its simplicity and elegance, while still maintaining a sense of austerity. The colors are very soothing, and the wonderful covers and smooth paper make writing in this journal a pleasing experience. If you like this notebook, you can purchase it at, or any other fine stationery online store, for a low price of $8.

Important Facts:
• 90 g acid-free, pH neutral paper, archival quality

• True white, with special anti-glare component, and exceptionally smooth satin finish
• Opaque, no see-thru
• Strong, does not tear
• Secure, ink never bleeds – use both sides of a page
• Pages perfectly aligned
• Bright, colorful covers stand out – laminated
• Chlorine free manufacture
• Made only with pulp from certified sustainable forests
• Binding is sewn with linen thread.

Published in: on October 10, 2009 at 2:24 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. nice review. I usually have one of these near my computer and have used them in the past as personal diaries. I do wish the covers were a bit sturdier – they seem to fray quite easily when placed in a pack or bag. One of these days I’ll have to break down and order a leather cover for them, which would probably increase their usefulness – I could actually take them out of the house 🙂

  2. A nice review, indeed. This is my favourite journal/notebook. I like the combination of fountainpen-friendly Clairefontaine paper and the traditional cover.

  3. Great review, looks good!

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