Skip links



papier à bords frangés


Arches is situated in a papermaking area and therefore benefits from a regional body of expertise that has been passed down the generations and persists today thanks to the existence of a school providing training in papermaking skills. Skills are also learned through experience and passed on in our workshops.


The Arches mill uses pure mineral water (e.g. Vittel water), an essential requirement for quality paper. Such pure water is plentiful in the Vosges area and is drawn from the groundwater under the site. It cannot be treated with chemicals and so it is simply filtered to remove any impurities. Our papermakers call it the “beautiful water”.

Moulin a papier d'Arches

Rigorous selection of raw materials

ARCHES® papers are made exclusively from 100% natural fibres such as cotton.

Arches uses cotton linters to make its papers. Linters, an invaluable by-product of cotton, are the fine, silky fibres on the seeds (the long fibres from the cotton flower are used to make the textile). The seeds are used to make oil and cattle feed.

papier Arches aquarelle

Cotton linters:

Allow excellent interlocking of the fibres (cotton fibres are longer than wood fibres), which gives the paper mechanical strength.

Give ARCHES® paper:
• its beauty,
• its exceptional feel, more “sensual” than other papers
• its bulky appearance
• exceptional mechanical strength and durability.

A well-guarded secret!

ARCHES®’s papermaking recipes are based on a skilful assembly of fibres of different lengths


Cotton linters contribute to the permanence of ARCHES® papers. They are acid-free in their natural state and contain only very small amounts of lignin, unlike wood fibres (whose linter consists of virtually pure cellulose), which avoids the paper yellowing over time.
In accordance with the ISO 9706 standard, ARCHES® fine art and printing papers are acid-free and protected against the acids in the environment by adding calcium carbonate. They do not contain optical brighteners (they have a natural, permanent whiteness) in order to guarantee their conservation over time.

Used in the watermark in ARCHES® papers since the 1980s, the (∞) symbolises permanence, that is their ability to last.


papier aquarelle français haut de gamme


Making paper using a cylinder mould is a traditional process that produces very high quality papers similar to handmade paper. ARCHES® has been using this papermaking method since 1895

cylinder mould

How a cylinder mould works

A large cylinder – the mould – is covered by a wire, a sort of mesh screen which may have areas of relief that will produce a watermark. The cylinder is dipped into the vat containing the paper stock (mixture of water and fibres). The cylinder turns slowly in the vat and the water in the stock penetrates inside the cylinder and the fibres that remain on the surface, on the wire, will be distributed evenly and regularly. The sheet that is formed is transported on a wool felt that subtly marks the surface with the grain.

Why does the Arches paper mill use a cylinder mould and not a Fourdrinier machine?

Cylinder mould manufacturing is the process best suited to making paper that is stable (not liable to be deformed when it is wet), watermarked, with a natural (slightly irregular) grain and deckle edges.

This method has several advantages, the most important of which is a more even distribution of the fibres than can be achieved on a machine with a flat bed-plate. It is the best process for obtaining a paper that is stable (not liable to be deformed when it is wet), watermarked, with a natural (slightly irregular) grain and deckle edges.

The slow speed and small widths imposed by this machine mean that today its use is restricted to high-quality papers.

Today ARCHES® is the only French paper mill still producing fine art and printing papers on a cylinder mould.


art watermark paper

All ARCHES® papers are watermarked (except for made-up products such as blocks, pads and rolls).

Each type of paper has its own watermark.

The watermark attests that the paper is genuine, and is therefore of high quality. It allows ARCHES® papers to be identified and dated, but it also helps to discourage counterfeiting.

It is the sign of an expert’s trade (watermark screen making) requiring precision, attention to detail and finesse.
The Arches paper mill masters the art of watermarking. To this day, our watermark screen makers continue to cultivate and pass on this ancestral know-how. This enables us to meet special orders for customised papers.



The many controls that are carried out throughout the manufacturing process ensure the undisputed quality to which ARCHES® owes its reputation.

Among these tests, some are specific to ARCHES®.

exceptional paper for watercolor



papier beaux-arts français


A feminine kind of subtlety.

At the end of the manufacturing cycle, cutting and the tactile and visual inspection of each sheet is left to a team of seasoned workers. Their know-how is acquired after lengthy in-house training.

Each web is unwound. The sheets, hand torn, have deckle edges on all 4 sides. At the same time, they undergo a final visual inspection over a light box. Any sheet containing even the slightest defect is eliminated and recycled.

This rigorous inspection guarantees customers the perfect quality that has made the brand image of ARCHES® for 525 years.

papier aquarelle

« Stamping »

“Stamping”, a process used only on ARCHES® Aquarelle paper, is proof of the paper’s origin.

arches paper roll


Sheets are wrapped by hand in brown paper. The products are handled and packed with great care, especially when they are shipped around the world.

bloc de papier pour l'aquarelle

Making blocks

ARCHES® Aquarelle blocks were already being made in the company’s workshops in the Vosges in the 1950s. And they are still being made there today

Subscribe to our Newsletter
Thanks for signing up. You must confirm your email address before we can send you. Please check your email and follow the instructions.
We respect your privacy. Your information is safe and will never be shared.
Don't miss out. Subscribe today.