Le Moulin à Papier: Part I

Le Moulin à Papier
Le Moulin à Papier: Entrance

The paper mill of Brousses is located in the Montagne Noir. The village and the mill are nearby Montolieu (village of books).

Once again with someone visiting, it was off and the paper mill was one we both had never seen. There is a tour and you can follow in French or English. I believe there may be printed tours in other languages but will leave their site information so that you may check should you be in the area.

Even without the paper mill, the trip is well worth making. The beauty is stunning and invites exploration, photography, and perhaps a picnic.

Upon entering the mill we had a wait of but a few minutes before setting off on the tour. Yet due to the lush setting, it is a surprise we got in at all. The paths and the river beckoned me to continue wandering.

The Bucket Wheel: This water engine drove the paper machine which stands in the current shop up until 1981 and has produced electricity until the 1950s. The bucket wheel and paddlewheel are both water engines.  – waterfalls down onto the bucket wheel to produce waterpower; this type of vertical wheel is primarily in the mountains. – the paddlewheel is driven by water running underneath and can be

The turbine
The turbine

found mostly in the plains.

The turbine: Upstream, the watercourse of the river “La Dure” is diverted through a canal and brought into a pond right above the mill. Prior to 1920, there had been three-bucket wheels, one on each floor. In 1920, two wooden bucket wheels were replaced by the turbine, due to the damage obtained with the period of inactivity during World War One.  The structure of the turbine consists of a horizontal wheel inside a cylindrical tank; water drives this wheel, which drives a horizontal axis and driving the machines on the upper level.

Watermarks: A watermark is a tiny lightness in the paper, where the paper is actually thinner. To obtain this lightness, the paper-maker lays a wire on the paper canvas; the result is that the paper past is less thick where the wire was placed. The paper-maker can create his own watermark… his signature! The first paper-maker was named Polère; he settled in Brousses in 1694.

The region of Carcassonne was renowned for its woolen fabrics. Among the Royal Factories who would produce fabrics, two were on the river La Dure.  The paper-makers produced cardboard used for the presses and leaves used to wrap the fabrics.

Watermark Window
Watermark Window

There were 617 water mills and hundreds of windmills spread out over the region. The river Dure was home to 67 waterwheels and 27 textile workshops. The village of Brousses alone was home to 12 watermills of which half were paper mills.

Today, the sole working paper mill in the region is Brousses. The Chaila family has been producing cardboards since 1820. They purchased the mill in 1877 and made paper from machines up until 1984. The seventh generation of the family made the decision to handcraft paper in 1994.

Watermarks were used to specify the size of the paper. Bell and grape were among the names to designate what are now standard sizes A4, A3, and others.

When the paper was held against a light source the network of lines could be seen. You were assured that this was laid paper. If the paper were

Papyrus
Papyrus

plain it was called vellum paper. An imperfection or stain was a defect and known as the papermaker’s tear. Normally, the paper is ecru-colored. However, paper-makers frequently add some blue when combining the paper paste with the intention of increasing the whiteness of the product. When this has been done you can see the increased whiteness of the paper when the light has been turned off and it produces a vast difference.

The watermark on banknotes is created by a metal plate that the printer engraves, heats up then presses against the paper canvas. This results in an accumulation of paste in the hollow parts and they turn darker in color. The flat parts which receive less of the paste will turn significantly lighter.

Papyrus: made from a water plant by the Egyptians around 3500 B.C. Stems from the plants were cut into long, thin, and wide strips; these were tightly woven together.

Parchment: From the second century B.C. Pergamon, Asia The hides of various animals such as goats, sheep calf’s were used as writing paper. For a thinner product the hide of a calf that was born dead or died within a few days. This higher quality hide was thinner and whiter.

...

Bisous,

Léa

Guide holding form alongside atub of paper past for dipping
Guide holding form alongside atub of paper past for dipping
Forms, paper paste and cloths for drying
Forms, paper paste and cloths for drying
...
SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
Guide begins documentary beneath paper garments
Guide begins documentary beneath paper garments
Formed page will be placed on damp cloth to dry slowly
Formed page will be placed on damp cloth to dry slowly

Le Moulin à Papier: Part I

Le Moulin à Papier
Le Moulin à Papier: Entrance

The paper mill of Brousses is located in the Montagne Noir. The village and the mill are nearby Montolieu (village of books).

Once again with someone visiting, it was off and the paper mill was one we both had never seen. There is a tour and you can follow in French or English. I believe there may be printed tours in other languages but will leave there site information so that you may check should you be in the area.

Even without the paper mill, the trip is well worth making. The beauty is stunning and invites exploration, photography and perhaps a picnic.

Upon entering the mill we had a wait of but a few minutes before setting off on the tour. Yet due to the lush setting, it is a surprise we got in at all. The paths and the river beckoned me to continue wandering.

The Bucket Wheel: This water engine drove the paper machine which stands in the current shop up until 1981 and has produced electricity until the 1950’s. The bucket wheel and paddlewheel are both water engines.  – water falls down onto the bucket wheel to produce waterpower; this type of vertical wheel is primarily in the mountains. – the paddlewheel is driven by water running underneath and can be

The turbine
The turbine

found mostly in the plains.

The turbine: Upstream, the watercourse of the river “La Dure” is diverted through a canal and brought into a pond right above the mill. Prior to 1920, there had been three bucket wheels, one on each floor. In 1920, two wooden bucket wheels were replaced by turbine, due to the damage obtained with the period of inactivity during World War One.  The structure of the turbine consists of a horizontal wheel inside a cylindrical tank; water drives this wheel, which drives a horizontal axis and driving the machines on the upper level.

Watermarks: A watermark is a tiny lightness in the paper, where the paper is actually thinner. To obtain this lightness, the paper-maker lays a wire on the paper canvas; the result is that the paper past is less thick where the wire was placed. The paper-maker can create his own watermark… his signature! The first paper-maker was named Polère; he settled in Brousses in 1694.

The region of Carcassonne was renowned for its woollen fabrics. Among the Royal Factories who would produce fabrics, two were on the river La Dure.  The paper-makers produced cardboard used for the presses and leaves used to wrap the fabrics.

Watermark Window
Watermark Window

There were 617 water mills and hundreds of windmills spread out over the region. The river Dure was home to 67 waterwheels and 27 textile workshops. The village of Brousses alone was home to 12 watermills of which half were paper mills.

Today, the sole working paper mill in the region is Brousses. The Chaila family has been producing cardboards since 1820. They purchased the mill in 1877 and made paper from machines up until 1984. The seventh generation of the family made the decision to handcraft paper in 1994.

Watermarks were used to specify the size of the paper. Bell and grape were among the names to designate what are now standard sizes A4, A3 and others.

When paper was held against a light source the network of lines could be seen. You were assured that this was laid paper. If the paper were

Papyrus
Papyrus

plain it was called vellum paper. An imperfection or stain was a defect and known as the paper-maker’s tear. Normally, the paper is ecru-coloured. However, paper-makers frequently add some blue when combining the paper paste with the intention of increasing the whiteness of the product. When this has been done you can see the increased whiteness of the paper when the light has been turned off and it produces a vast difference.

The watermark on banknotes is created by a metal plate that the printer engraves, heats up then presses against the paper canvas. This results in an accumulation of paste in the hollow parts and they turn darker in colour. The flat parts which receive less of the paste will turn significantly lighter.

Papyrus: made from a water plant by the Egyptians around 3500 B.C. Stems from the plants were cut into long, thin and wide strips; these were tightly woven together.

Parchment: From the second century B.C. Pergamon, Asia The hides of various animals such as goats, sheep calf’s were used as writing paper. For a thinner product the hide of a calf that was born dead or died within a few days. This higher quality hide was thinner and whiter.

...

Bisous,

Léa

Guide holding form alongside atub of paper past for dipping
Guide holding form alongside atub of paper past for dipping
Forms, paper paste and cloths for drying
Forms, paper paste and cloths for drying
...
...
Guide begins documentary beneath paper garments
Guide begins documentary beneath paper garments
Formed page will be placed on damp cloth to dry slowly
Formed page will be placed on damp cloth to dry slowly

Montolieu

Montolieu

has less than a thousand inhabitants yet this small village is the home of more than 20 book shops. Perhaps it will come as no surprise that it is well known for its writer’s workshops.

Montolieu

The village square, adjoining the massive cathedral, has a delightful fountain and is a marvelous place to read, write, or watch the locals play péntanque.

Village du livre

There is a museum of the printing press with a myriad of presses and other printing equipment that has been used to create the printed word. The collection is extensive and quite impressive.
The village is located in the Midi-Pyrenees region and north-west of Carcassonne in the Montange Noir (Black Mountain). This lovely village has a proud reputation as being “Ville du Livres” Village of Books. In addition to the bookstores and the museum, there is a large stone complex of buildings that are devoted to the art of book and paper-making.
On the south slope of Montagne Noir, in the mid 1600’s, the paper mill Brousses was the most famous stationer in the province of Languedoc. By the mid 1800’s, Brousses was operating 12 mills. Currently, the mill continues to produce paper within the same complex of buildings as it has for over four centuries. It is a living museum with classes offered in all aspects of paper and bookmaking.
Montolieu is worth the trip regardless of a passion of the written word.

There are lovely places to stroll or hike, picnic and a camera would have no end of lovely views to record. It is a place that is on my list of must sees for first time visitors to this area.     

My love affair with books and writing takes me back to Montolieu again and again. Perhaps one day, I shall see you there.

Bisous,
Léa