Laid paper is another good choice for pastel and chalk. Pastel papers with a laid surface have a texture of parallel lines which is clearly visible in the drawing. This is a very old style of paper and is often favored for portrait sketches and figure drawings. Brands include Canson Ingres, Hahnemühle Ingres, Hahnemühle Bugra Pastel Paper, and Strathmore 500 Series Charcoal Paper.
The tooth and hardness of the paper itself varies according to manufacturer, though most have quite a hard surface with just enough tooth to hold the medium.
Pastel papers are available in a huge range of colors, as well as black. If you are going to leave a lot of blank paper, a neutral to mid tone can look most effective. For 'trois crayons' technique, a medium cream or gray is used, with white highlights and dark tones added. Black or dark paper can look effective when well used - you need to observe and draw lights and highlights carefully. For more developed 'pastel paintings' artists will often choose a contrasting undertone, often quite bright, which appears in small slivers throughout the picture as a unifying element. In large areas, the strong tones can become overpowering.
The actual 'tooth' of this type of pastel paper is quite fine and will only hold a couple of layers of pastel or chalk. For highly layered pastel paintings, you need a much 'toothier' sanded or velours surface. Brands include Art Spectrum Colorfix or Ampersand Pastelbord, Sennelier La Carte Pastel Card, or the excellent Wallis Sanded Pastel Paper.