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Papier d’Armenie

Papier d’Arménie represents a certain lifestyle, a sure sign of good taste and underpinned by strong values as regards health and the environment.
For 130 years, those who have appreciated, generation after generation, the traditional manufacturing behind a high-quality product know that Papier d’Arménie exudes respect for tradition.

The history of Papier d’Arménie (like many older French firms, the name of the company is essentially the name of the product, Papier d’Arménie) starts in the 19th century when, on a trip to Armenia, Auguste Ponsot noticed the local people scented and disinfected their homes by burning benzoin. This traditional and ecologically-sound practice appealed, and he decided to import the product to France. After some trial and error, the desired end-product was finally ready. Papier d’Arménie proved a great success, especially at the health exhibition of 1888 and the Universal Exhibition of 1889, during which, convinced of the effectiveness of the paper’s anti-sceptic properties, the two inventors placed two pieces of meat under two bell jars, one of which had some of the paper burning inside. After a week, the meat that had absorbed the fragrance from the paper was still fit to eat, the other piece was off. A memorable experiment!
Benzoin resin used to be applied externally to treat asthma, coughs and hoarseness. Its positive effect on the psyche and emotions makes it popular with those feeling stressed.

The absorbent paper used to make our Armenia paper is a fibre of natural origin. Its mahogany colour comes from the bath where the sheets soak up Papier d’Arménie’s complex scent. Some of its aromatic ingredients are trade secrets.

The workshop where Papier d’Arménie has always made its Armenian paper following the craft tradition is in Montrouge in the Paris suburbs. There are several stages in the manufacturing process, which involves 12 people, eight at the workshop, lovingly producing the little booklets, under the painstaking eye of the head of the lab. It all starts with the health-giving styrax, the best benzoin resin, delivered in the form of tears, two tonnes of which is imported by the workshop every year. Following an unchanging ritual, the resin is dissolved in alcohol for two months. The fragrance extracts are then added. A special absorbent paper is then soaked in the resulting mixture, an entirely manual job, carried out sheet by individual sheet. Once the soaking and drying and other steps are complete, the sheets are pressed for a month.
It is only after this 6-month process that they can be perforated, cut and assembled into covered booklets.

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