I love Paris in the tea time

By Margaret Barca

We often think of tea as being ‘terribly British’ but, in fact, the French (Parisians in particular) have been drinking tea for centuries, and their tea shops and salons de thé are …well, very Parisian. A proper pot of tea, perhaps some petit sandwiches and, of course, elegant patisseries, makes a perfect break in the day. There are hip newcomers – chic little cafes that pop up with stylish fit-outs and clever little morsels (this is Paris after all!) – and there are the classics.

For top-shelf tea to enjoy in your apartment, you’ll find an amazing range of teas and tisanes (herbal teas) in beautifully curated ‘tea shops’, which often also stock all things tea, from lacquered caddies to teaspoons and samovars.

Carette

Carette faces the Place des Vosges, one of the most beautiful squares in Paris – golden in autumn, lush in spring, a cool green in summer. There are tables inside and out, and it’s popular with up-market American visitors who stay in this smart area, but also with savvy locals. I love the old-fashioned little savoury sandwiches in waxed paper (very Miss Marples) and the tartes au citron – creamy, custardy, with a sharpish citrus tang. There’s lots more though – impossibly perfect chestnut cream Mont Blancs, éclairs and macarons. Tea comes in silver pots, and there’s excellent coffee.

25, place des Vosges,
4th Arr
www.carette-paris.com

Angelina

Angelina is something of an institution in Paris. It opened in 1903 and retains its Belle Époque ambiance (though ‘refreshed’, as designers say). It can feel rather proper, but when you hear that Marcel Proust took tea here (and perhaps Madeleines), as did Coco Chanel, you understand why. It’s also famous for its distinctive Mont Blancs and its signature hot chocolates, chocolat l‘Africain (amazing! but I don’t even think about the calories). Rue de Rivoli, across from the Tuileries, is the original venue, but try the salon at the Luxumbourg Museum. Ideal if you are on the Left Bank, visiting the Luxembourg museum or gardens. It’s new and crisply white, but the chocolate is just as rich.

226, rue du Rivoli,
4th arr

19 rue de Vaugirard (Luxembourg Museum),
*6th arr

www.angelina-paris.fr

Rose Bakery Tea Room

There are several Rose Bakeries in Paris. The one in the upper Marais is very au natural, with crates of oranges, and super healthy salads, but if it’s afternoon you’re after, make for Le Bon Marché, the chic department store on the Right Bank. It’s light and airy, with organic cakes that are just a little indulgent. There are tea cakes, not cream cakes, icing not crème pâtissière, the lemon cake has polenta, the scones are filled with fruit, the carrot cake has Parisian flair. A lovely place to take a break from sightseeing and

Le Bon Marche (department store)
24 Rue de Sevres,
7th arr
www.lebonmarche.com/services/pauses-gourmandes.html

Dammann Frères

The Dammann family have been tea-sellers since 1692, and blending teas for three generations. Their Places des Vosges store is divine, with a wonderful apothecary atmosphere, all dark polished timbers, secret drawers, subtle herbal fragrances and exquisite packaging, with literally dozens of teas and tisanes. Their newest ‘Early Green Earl Grey’ tea uses bergamot fruit from Calabria. Really. Tea here is part science, part art.

15, Place des Vosges,
4th arr
Open daily
www.dammann.fr

Mariage Frères

Established in 1854, this company is, literally, steeped in tea. Their ‘emporiums ‘(some with tea salons are dotted around Paris. The one on rue du Bourg-Tibourg, in the Marais, is lined with canisters and old-fashioned counters and is a treasure trove for gifts. And the teas! Imperial Jasmin, Black Magic tea, Rose tea, Blue tea. Pop upstairs and look at the tea museum. And in the tea salon, with its old-world potted palms, the most surprising menu is studded with sweet and savoury tea-flavoured delicacies: tea-infused crème brûlée, tea sorbets, scones with tea jam.

30, rue due Bourg-Tibourg,
4th arr
www.mariagefreres.com

For an authentic Parisienne experience, take a look at these beautiful Paris apartment rentals for your accommodation needs.

Photos courtesy of Angelina and Pole Luxe;
Le Bon Marché and Rose Bakery; Dammann Frères.