Places to visit

Paper-making on the river Aa

Early 19th century paper-making machine

Raw materials
The valley of the River Aa in the chalk hills of the Pas-de-Calais near
Saint-Omer has plentiful clean spring water from wells in the chalk - just like comparable valleys in the downs in Kent, near Maidstone and Dover. Most of Kent's paper mills have now closed, but their French counterparts still thrive.

Early paper mills used shredded rags from old clothing to make pulp - today, wood or esparto grass is the common raw material.


Places to visit:
Maison du Papier - visitor centre near Saint-Omer where you can make your own paper, with displays on the making, history and uses of paper.

Related background information
Industrial Revolution




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