I may run my life from three smartphones, a tablet and my MacAir, but I gain enormous pleasure from writing thank you letters to everyone in ink on heavy cream paper, and from writing endless lists by hand with a fountain pen in my notebooks.
So for me, there is something enormously beguiling about a proper old school stationers, with its singular smell of leather, paper and ink. Barcelona’s Papirum is just such a one, with its shelves of leather & cloth-bound notebooks, crisp correspondence cards, pens and pencils and calligraphy supplies of every description, letter press invitations, and diaries. But most of all, there is paper, sheaves and sheaves of artisan-made paper.
Conveniently situated just down from the Picasso Museum in the Barri Gotic (the Gothic quarter), I’ve frequently walked past the shop, late and en route elsewhere, and wondered if it sold curios, antiques or just leather goods.
So this summer, when I was caught in a violent rainstorm, walking from the boutiques of El Born to the food market on the Ramblas, I folded my umbrella and pushed the door open.
Immediately that leathery, papery smell filled my nose, banishing the wet dog smell of my sweater.
I left with a carefully chosen notebooks, a clutch of birthday cards, several pens and some visiting cards for a girlfriend.
Bajada Libretería, 2
Timetable: Monday to Friday from 10h to 20,30h. Saturdays from 10h to 14h and from 17h to 20,30h.
RENFE commuter: Plaza Catalunya
Underground: Jaume I L4 and Liceo L3