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.