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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Made in France - Waterman Pens

Sunday, April 10, 2016

fabriqué en france 
Made in France 


Presents brought home for family, friends, or yourself when traveling always seem more special when the item actually is made in the country visited. Going to France this year? Then here is a great idea about a gift that is made in France and truly is one-size-fits-all. Stylos (pens) are excellent items made in France to bring home as cadeaux (gifts) to loved ones.  {Disclosure: affiliate links}

Who wouldn't love to receive a classic black pen that boldly states FRANCE between gold band accents? 

Perhaps it is the teacher in me that loves all things in office supply stores, and one of the things I love the most are pens. Fine-tip preferred, but ink can be any and all colors.  

A pen is suitable for men, women, Father's Day, high school graduations, college-age students, birthdays, anniversaries, and retirements. Or, just because! Because I missed you while I was in France. Because I thought of you while gone. Because I love you. 

FRANCE on one side, and WATERMAN PARIS on the other side. Not only from France, but from the magical city of Paris and manufactured by Waterman whose founder invented the first reliable fountain pen in 1883.  

This Waterman ballpoint pen belongs to my brother who received it as a gift several years ago. I spotted him using it while I was visiting him recently to work on our late mother's final income tax return. The style is timeless.

While my brother enjoys using a ballpoint pen, I like using a fountain pen like this inexpensive Waterman bought on one of my first trips to France. For everyday, I use a ballpoint pen (Pentel, Papermate, etc...), but for thank-you notes, gift tags, and Christmas cards, a fountain pen with red, green, purple, turquoise, etc... ink is my favorite writing instrument. When I was growing up, the only socially acceptable ink color was black or dark blue. 

The nib is worn, speckled with dried ink, and even bent a little, but it still works.  In my imagination, I see a Parisian accountant using a similar pen to write the vintage business document above. Beautiful penmanship with uniform height letters embellished with just the right flourish calls for a fine-tipped fountain pen. 

This nib is bent, but it is not the first Waterman that I have damaged. No, my very first inexpensive Waterman fountain pen lasted less than one day. I was so excited to find it in France and was showing it to fellow travelers at lunch when I dropped it, nib first, onto the hard concrete floor. The tip was bent beyond repair, and I was devastated. Fortunately, pens in France were used at that time by most French school children and inexpensive versions were plentiful in the papèteries (stationery stores.)

Then one year, I found this beauty! It was a special edition which did cost more than the French school children version. Spotted in a papèterie window, it called my name like a siren luring me into the store. 

A deep true red with gold accents, it came with its own red textured leather case. Over the years I have written many Christmas cards with this pen... using red ink, of course! 

The workmanship is extraordinary, and the details exquisite. The gold band is engraved with Waterman Paris France. The golden nib stole my heart away with its miniature heart. 

Look closely, and you can also see the F on the nib that indicates the tip is a Fine tip size, my favorite size. 

A splurge for a teacher's salary, but quintessentially French that becomes more treasured as the years pass. All the memories of traveling as a sponsor with students, strengthening bonds of friendship with fellow teachers, and discovering all that being French entails flood my mind with a kaleidoscope of images each time I pick up this pen. 

Bottled ink is not needed for my Waterman ink pens. Both the inexpensive French school children version and the red special edition use Waterman ink cartridges. 

The school children version is a standard size that uses a long cartouche (cartridge). Ink refills in many colors are available in all stationery stores and even in the Parisian department stores. 

The red special edition Waterman pen uses a smaller cartridge labeled as "international." This size is also readily available. These boxes came from Galeries Lafayette in Paris and cost 5 French francs (about $1) for six cartridges. The French now use the euro instead of the franc as their currency, and the price of refills has risen considerably since these were bought. A quick look at online prices showed this "international" size of boxed refills now costs around $4 for a box of six. 

Another small gift for friends who have a Waterman fountain pen is a package of ink refills. The fun colors make great Christmas stocking stuffers.  

Not going to France this year, but still would like to give a beautiful Waterman pen? There is a large selection available online for Waterman pens here and here {affiliate} in a wide price range. Of course, I picked out some blue ones for you to see. Take a peek even if you are not in the market for a beautiful pen from France. 

Alas, the beautiful red special edition is not on any site I visited. Perhaps you will just HAVE to go to France to search for another very special edition in a French papèterie

bon voyage, mon amie 
have a nice trip, my friend 

~~~~ ❦ ~~~~ 

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