Meeting up for tea or hot chocolate, and maybe a cake or two, on a Sunday afternoon is a Parisian thing to do. Under the arcades of the rue de Rivoli and across the road from the Tuileries Gardens, Monique and I came across a newish tea salon called Sébastien Gaudard.
Does the photo below look odd to you? The woman standing makes me think of Alice in Wonderland who ate the cake with EAT ME written on it. She looks unusually large as she towers over the young Asian woman.
There are two small tables on the ground floor and several tables upstairs. We both had hot chocolate at 7 euros a cup (!) Although I had my eye on the rum baba, I managed to resist.
What a pleasure to see someone, especially a young person, reading an old-fashioned book. The day I learned that some people read books off of their telephones, I shuddered.
From the tea salon, we walked 5 minutes down the rue de Rivoli towards the Louvre, past the Musée des Arts Décoratifs until we reached Le Carrousel du Louvre. The Carrousel du Louvre is a shopping mall located underneath the Louvre. There’s a separate entrance so you don’t have to go through the Louvre to get there. It’s a beautiful space filled with beautiful boutiques. There’s also an Au Printemps department store as well as a restaurant and snack area (including a controversial McDonald’s and Starbucks that Parisians did not want there.)
Spend! Spend! Spend! Governments want consumers to spend; money circulating keeps the economy buoyant.
I love Fragonard for their soaps and perfumes. But I love Mariage Frères even more. Walk inside for a sensual tea experience. Stick your head into one of the large black canisters filled with fragrant tea leaves and breathe in deep. Below the salesperson is measuring my two packets of tea – Russian Breakfast and Darjeeling Rose Himalaya. The most popular blend is Marco Polo.
All the boutiques also sell teapots, cakes, chocolate and tea accoutrements. There are also tea salons on the premises but be forewarned, they’re expensive. There are 13 Mariage Frères boutiques scattered around Paris.
Miam! Love Mariage Frères
moi aussi ! 🙂
Enjoyed the tea boutique photos. Any observations regarding French tea culture?
Hi CB, haven’t heard from you in a while!
French tea culture? Ummm….gosh….well….
Unlike the Brits who basically buy standard tea bags at their local Sainsbury’s or Marks and Spencer, I’d say that the French were more refined in their tea habit. They don’t add milk to their tea, like the Brits do. But basically, they drink a lot less tea than the Brits which might explain why they can afford to splurge on expensive, exotic tea leaves wrapped up in pretty packets.
France is a coffee culture, really. They (we) drink it all day long: mainly espresso in tiny cups, unsugared and black. NESPRESSO machines are huge here – I have one at home and one at the office.
Just past 8 a.m. on a drizzly Sunday morning here and I’m about to head to the kitchen to make myself a double espresso in a large mug topped with coconut and almond milk (only on weekends do I add milk.)
I hope you are well. Thanks for writing.
Thanks for your French tea observation notes. You are correct, the French are more coffee oriented.
I found a website that is in keeping with your blog – focused photography and excellent detail. It confirms your view of French tea culture.
Yes, that’s it. “Tisane” is the operative word, you hear it much more than the word “thé”. Floral and perfumed. As I mentioned earlier, the most popular blend of tisane at Mariage Frères a few years ago was Marco Polo. From their website: “a mysterious blend that will take you to distant lands
and unforeseen territories. Fragrances of Chinese and Tibetan flowers lend it a uniquely velvety taste.
Its extraordinary bouquet makes Marco Polo the most legendary of flavoured teas.”
Everyone, including myself, was drinking it until I got sick of it. I returned to my two favorites: Jasmine and Darjeeling.
Have a nice day. Je vous souhaite une bonne journée.