Monday, July 20, 2015

Review: Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac

Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (4)
Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (17)
  • Vegetable-tanned leather
  • Tanned in Toscana
  • Size: 10.5 x 15 cm
  • Holds up to 3 notebooks, passport, and pen
  • BONUS: Join the Voyageurs Society and get 20% off all Grand Voyageur refills!
  • Comes with:
    • One plain refill notebook (80 gsm FSC-paper)
      • 9.5 x 14 cm
    • One premium Japanese ribbon
      • Choice of: orange, black, red, blue, green, pink
  • Where to buy: Paper Republic
Paper Republic

The Grand Voyageur comes in a cardboard box, printed with information about the cover. I doubt this would require a dust cloth. It's been in constant use.
Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (2)
Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (3)
I like leather journal covers/planner-type things. I like to have notebooks that look similar so they stack nicely or line up nicely on a shelf. Having a refillable leather journal cover works well for that. I also appreciate leather goods! The Grand Voyageur looks like a cross between my usual Mitchell Leather Deluxe Journal covers and a passport-sized Midori Traveler's Notebook.
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The Grand Voyageur is pocket-sized. It's a beautiful, smooth, cognac-colored leather. Mine has my initials (AA) embossed in the bottom right-hand corner of the front cover. The back cover has the paper republic logo on it, which I think is pretty cool. There are no other markings on the covers, aside from the scuffs from my own use.
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My Grand Voyageur has a red elastic attached through a small, clean hole in the spine. It's also attached at the top and bottom through clean holes, which I prefer over the slit-style (found on the Midori).
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Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (20)
Inside, one of there is one elastic loop holding two refills in place, and a rubber band holding another refill together with them. I am fascinated by this set up, and I really like how there is nothing on the outside of the cover to hold the elastics (such as the little tin ball on the outside of the Midori - that gets caught in my bag and such all the time).
Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (1)
The base of my Grand Voyageur has a REFILL 05: Le Porte Feuille, which opens to accommodate all my other refills. It is a kraft material of medium thickness, and is fairly firm. Both sides have a high, angled pocket, and a smaller slit midway down to serve as a second pocket.
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Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (8)
The first refill is a 2015 weekly planner. It has a bright orange cover and 2015 in large print across the cover. The set up is two week per two pages. Yes. That's a bit confusing. One week spreads across the top half of two pages, with Saturday and Sunday sharing the space of a single week day. The second week spreads across the bottom half of the two pages in the same manner. The three letter abbreviation of the month is at the top left of the page. The week number is indicated, and the days are labeled: mo, tu, we, th, fr, sa, su, which, to be honest, confused me.I'm used to the abbreviations as follows: Mon, Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat, Sun. It's stupid, but the brain knows what it knows. I have just gotten used to that. The slot for each day is separated by two little dashes, dividing the day into morning, afternoon, and evening. Saturday and Sunday only have two parts, divided by one dash.
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There are two blank pages for notes at the back. I don't expect much blank space, given that it's a refill and I have two other refills with plenty of writing space.
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Along with this, I have one each of: REFILL 01 (Plain pages), and REFILL 03 (Squared pages). They both have deep blue covers, rounded edges, and white paper. The squared refill has a grey grid. Both refills are nice and simple and I like that the covers match.

The inside of the Grand Voyageur is smoothed leather. The color is warm, similar to the yellow-brown cognac of the outside. I love the look of the leather - glossy, rich, beautiful.
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The weekly planner refill is strictly for overview planning, not details. There isn't enough space for details. I like to carry a simple planner with me because I jot down appointments, blog posts, due dates, and more. I'm not crazy about the specific layout of this planner because it doesn't flow for me, but it works for my basic needs. I don't need more space than it provides or anything. I only use a ballpoint in this planner.

The Porte Feuille is firm enough to provide a nice back up to the cover, and it also protects the cash, business cards, and extra loose papers I put in it. I also have a few Les Flèches bookmarks - beautiful, ultra-thin little arrow bookmarks in bronze, brass, and stainless steel. They can be a little tough to figure out how many pages can fit into them but if you stick to one or two pages to bookmark your spot or highlight something, it's a cinch. I love how slim they are - they don't bulk up the refills so you can fill up your entire notebooks with them.

The refills have white paper that is smooth but not slick. I like both the plain and squared refill - each serves a purpose for me! The plain is great for doodles, sketches, and hand lettering. The squared refill is also great for doodles that require structure, but also lettering and notes/writing.

Pencils, ballpoints, and gels pens work fine on the paper. Some roller balls feathered a little, but it was minimal. There was some show through and just a little bit of bleed through with the wetter roller balls. The paper felt a little too soft for pencils though - it didn't have enough tooth to catch the lead in an enjoyable, sketchy way. Artist pens worked well, as did marker pens and brush pens, aside from show through and bleed through. I thought it would be worse.
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Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (23)
Fountain pens, even fine nibs, feathered, and there was show through and bleed through. Dry, fine nibs had minimal feathering but still bled through. No sheens, toned down shading, but very fast drying times. Fountain pens are not the best choice for these refills.
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Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (11)
Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (12)
I love the size of this Grand Voyageur - small, but not proprietary sized. I love that my Field Notes notebooks, and other fountain pen-friendly notebooks (Clairefontaine, Rhodia) fit in here. That makes it far more useful to me than the passport-sized Midori Traveler's Notebook (because those fountain pen-friendly refills are not available all over the place, and they aren't inexpensive either).

I love how this cover feels - it's firm but not too stiff. It can be bent, and the leather responds well. I like that it isn't too floppy either, providing a surface to write on but also some protection to the refills inside.
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Review Paper Republic Grand Voyageur Cognac (22)
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I love this notebook cover for two reasons: it holds my pocket-sized notebooks. I'm good on refills for awhile, considering my Field Notes subscription, along with my fountain pen-friendly, pocket-sized notebook hoard. I also love the look and feel of this leather. It feels great in hand: good quality, firm, and portable. The leather is beautiful - a rich cognac (also available in black/red), and I love the gloss and finish. It gains character wonderfully and feels very unique.

I love the Porte Feuille and the awesome little bookmarks. The planner is convenient, although not my favorite layout. I can also use my own refills. Fantastic. This is a superb alternative to the Midori, although it's expensive. I think it's high-quality, and you're less-restricted to a specific passport-type size.

I received this item free of charge for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated monetarily for my review. Everything you've read here is my own opinion. 


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