Clairefontaine Age Bag review

Clairefontaine Age Bag Notebook Review

8 June 2016 By ian

Clairefontaine Age Bag review

When I was a child I never really watched Star Trek. I saw the occasional episode on BBC2 but I expect it was on at the same time as the news and, being an age when families only had one TV (and three channels), my parents were always going to pick the news.

Back in October 2014 I decided I needed to fill this cultural hole and, me being me, the only way to do that was to watch every episode in order. Also, me being me, I decided I should write a small summary of each episode (and rate each one out of ten). The notebook I picked for this was the Clairefontaine Age Bag (A5). Now, 19 months and 485 episodes later, I have come to the end of the notebook (but not of Star Trek: there are still almost 300 more episodes to watch).

Size: A4, A5 and A6
Price: £7.75 (A4) £4.95 (A6) (I could only find the A5 books available in packs of 5 or at ridiculous prices)
Pages: 96 sheets/192 pages
Cover: embossed card in black, blue, red, green or brown
Paper: 90gsm
Ruling: ruled, grid, plain
Binding: perfect (glue)

Clairefontaine Age Bag open with writing

First, that silly name. Apparently the covers are meant to look like old luggage. I’m not sure they do and it doesn’t make the name any less odd. The covers do look quite nice and retro, though, particularly the red and green ones.

Clairefontaine Age Bag closed

The pages are glued to a fabric spine. It’s very strong. The notebook opens fairly but not perfectly flat. The covers are stuck too much onto the inside pages making it difficult to use them without them unsticking.

Clairefontaine Age Bag spine at back

The covers are cardboard and fairly stiff: firmer than a softcover notebook, thus providing some support if resting it on your lap; thinner and lighter than a hardcover notebook.

Clairefontaine Age Bag edge on

The paper is excellent. It’s very smooth and there’s no feathering, bleeding or ghosting. It shows off ink colours nicely. I did find though that some fountain pens don’t get on with the coating. Many pens that wrote perfectly on other paper skipped a lot on this paper. Is that the fault of the pen or the paper? Either way, it might be an issue for you. I found it more of a problem with broader nibs, for some reason.

Clairefontaine Age Bag ink closeup

This is a good option if you’re looking for a notebook with lots of pages, without a thick cover, and that you can use your fountain pens in.


Good quality fountain pen friendly paper
Robust binding
Stiff card cover


Difficult to use front and back pages
Causes some pens to skip

Clairefontaine Age Bag ink test front

Clairefontaine Age Bag ink test back