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John Talbott

Tea in Paris - Favorite teashops and teasalons

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Tea/thé Salons/Ceremonies/Purchase: A compendium

Sunday March 19, 2006, the Journal du Dimanche published an article on having tea in a serene setting. It suggested:

In a secret garden

Mademoiselle Li, Pavillion des ateliers, at the principal entry of the Jardin d'Acclimatation in the 16th, 01.40.67.99.16, open Saturday and Sundays 12 noon - 6 PM, 4 € a teapot.

In the grand tradition

Pantheon bouddhique (annex of the Guimet Museum), 19, ave d’Iena in the 16th, 01.56.52.53.00, free entry, the garden is open everyday but Tuesday 1-5 PM; tea ceremonies start up again May 4th and cost 12 € (reservations are a must).

L’Artisan des Saveurs, 72, rue du Cherche Midi in the 6th, 01.42.22.46.64, open everyday except Wednesday from 12 noon-6:30 PM and brunch weekends 12 noon – 3 PM.

Le Loir dans la theire, 3, rue des Roisiers in the 4th, 01.42.72.90.61, everyday from 11:30 AM to 7 PM.

On Morrocan couches

Aid, 24, rue Boursault in the 17th, 01.44.70.07.30, open everyday from 12 noon to 2 AM; teapots are 6-8 €.

La mosquee de Paris, 39, rue Geoffroy St-Hilaire in the 5th, 01.43.31.38.20.

In a palace

Le Bristol, 112, rue du Faubourg St-Honore in the 8th, 01.53.43.43.00, from Monday to Saturday from 7-10:30 AM and Sundays 7-11 AM; continental breakfast 34 €.

Le Crillon, 10, place de la Concorde in the 8th, 01.44.71.15.00.

To buy tea

Au Palais des thés, open everyday 10 AM – 8 PM,

64, rue Vieille du Temple in the 3rd, 01.48.87.80.60,

61, rue du Cherche Midi in the 6th,

25, rue Raymond Losserand in the 14th,

21, rue de l’Annonciation in the 16th.

A la Route des Thés in Versailles.


John Talbott

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May I add my favorite tea shop, L'Empire des thés, 101, Avenue d'Ivry - 75013 Paris. Tel.: 01 45 85 66 33.

200 fine teas directly imported from China (the importers are the Kawa house, who run a big kitchenware store on avenue de Choisy and have an impressive range of teaware including hundreds of Yixing teapots). Also: some lovely teaware, cookies and incenses, and tea classes and tastings on the last Sunday of each month.

I don't recommend La Maison des trois thés on rue Gracieuse: esthetically impressive but overpriced, very haughty service and a snobbish attitude towards tea in general.

There is also a Chinese tea shop, Thés de Chine on 20, boulevard Saint-Germain, that seems to have been taken over by Taiwanese people recently, and it looks very good, but perhaps a bit overpriced (judging by the price of the dragon tea balls). I should take a closer look to be more accurate.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

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Where oh where is Mariage Freres? I've only been to the ones in Japan, but it's my favourite place for tea, especially flavoured ones--to drink and to buy.

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Mariage Freres Paris Addresses

30 r Bourg Tibourg 75004 Paris

01 42 72 28 11

13 r Grands Augustins 75006 Paris

01 40 51 82 50

260 r Fbg St Honoré 75008 Paris

01 46 22 18 54

Apparently they sell by mail order - website only in French (hint: click 'francais' to get in).

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Mariage Freres Paris Addresses

Apparently they sell by mail order - website only in French (hint:  click 'francais' to get in).

The Japanese link works too, but the English link, though it has been there for as long as the site has, has never worked. Sometimes I get e-mails from them with English links, but alas, they only want me to buy their tea on-line in French or Japanese. :sad:

Is Mariage Freres a popular tea shop in France. I've read that they are the oldest tea purveyors in France, but since they don't get mentioned as often as other places, I've wondered about them.

One day, I will make my way to Paris and have tea at Mariage Freres. I'm sure the Japanese ones are good replicas, but Paris and Mariage Freres? What could be better? Teawise, that is. :wink:

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Is Mariage Freres a popular tea shop in France.  I've read that they are the oldest tea purveyors in France, but since they don't get mentioned as often as other places, I've wondered about them. 

Actually, I think it/they is/are the most popular tea place(s) in Paris and has a great variety. Since I was merely reporting on an article, I didn't mention M Freres, but it surely is a great venue for the non-French to buy teas in or sit and sip.


John Talbott

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...I didn't mention M Freres, but it surely is a great venue for the non-French to buy teas in or sit and sip.

Tourist-only kind of place? Well, if I ever get to Paris, I shall also be a tourist, so will sit and sip with the rest of them! :biggrin:

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re Mariage Freres

Tourist-only kind of place?

If it is 'tourist only', then they certainly understand how to treat tourists. I have found the staff at our Grand Augustins shop to be consistently willing to listen and teach, and patient beyond one's expectation. Their product is excellent and the price is commensurate.

I like this place a lot. Someday I will allot both time and money to actually sitting down and taking tea here. :huh: In the meantime, I am content to spend the equivalent of the national debt in order to take home a year's afternoons of their fine brews. :wub:


eGullet member #80.

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Tourist-only kind of place?  Well, if I ever get to Paris, I shall also be a tourist, so will sit and sip with the rest of them!  :biggrin:

I wouldn't describe it as a tourist-only kind of place, though there are lots of foreigners. Just avoid weekends. It is "French-style tea", which is a bit hard to define precisely, it's all in the atmosphere and design. Strong points are darjeelings and flavored teas, adding milk is not encouraged, and Chinese teas — served "French style" — are not particularly well treated (go to other abovementioned places for that). Food and pastries are very nice.

Mariage Frères have been around (rue du Bourg-Tibourg) forever but their true hype period started only twenty years ago or so. Before that, it was only a confidential tea shop.

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I wouldn't describe it as a tourist-only kind of place, though there are lots of foreigners. Just avoid weekends. It is "French-style tea", which is a bit hard to define precisely, it's all in the atmosphere and design.

Could you expand a bit more on that? Are there certain traits that would mark a place as a "French-style" shop vs. say, a British-style shop? In design and atmosphere, I mean.

The Mariage Freres tea shops in Japan are all very posh, yet not. I love the atmosphere, and the waiters (though I used to love the waiters more when they wore linen suits as opposed to the current cotton/cotton-blend suits they currently wear :biggrin:). In the past, the waitstaff were all male at the Japanese shops--is that a French tradition? (Currently, though, you'll sometimes see a female manager help out with service.)

They also use white cloth tablecloths and napkins, and the straws for iced teas are made of paper, not plastic. They use heavy flatware and very simply designed, classic-looking tableware. But for all the formality of appearance, I find it to be a very casual place. As Ms. Pilgrim mentioned, they are so very helpful and solicitous there. And they have no problem with letting you sit about with your single pot of tea, even if the line is getting longer out the door.

Strong points are darjeelings and flavored teas, adding milk is not encouraged, and Chinese teas — served "French style" — are not particularly well treated (go to other abovementioned places for that). Food and pastries are very nice.

I do love their flavoured teas, especially Bolero. I'm making my way down the list of flavoured teas. I've noticed they only offer you milk if they feel milk is suited to that particular tea (they even note which teas go well with milk in their books). I rarely use milk with my tea, so it's not a problem for me.

What traits mark "French style" tea? Is it that they are usually served without milk?

Mariage Frères have been around (rue du Bourg-Tibourg) forever but their true hype period started only twenty years ago or so. Before that, it was only a confidential tea shop.

Does "confidential tea shop" mean one of those shops that only a few people knew about and appreciated?

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Could you expand a bit more on that?  Are there certain traits that would mark a place as a "French-style" shop vs. say, a British-style shop?  In design and atmosphere, I mean.

As I told you, it's hard to put words on it. It's an atmosphere that's reminiscent of the Belle Epoque, the late 1800s-early 1900s. Chic and relaxed at the same time, with hints of the Colonial culture. Potted plants, barbotine ceramics, the smell of beeswax and (of course) tea, pretty boys doing the service, etc.

Helped by your description of the Mariage shops in Japan (I've only seen the one near the Isetan department store in Tokyo), I think I can tell you that they are very much like the ones in Paris. The one in rue du Bourg-Tibourg just has a lot of atmosphere because it is also a tea-room and it is the original location. Besides, it is in the Marais, which is a very nice, old part of Paris.

I love the atmosphere, and the waiters (though I used to love the waiters more when they wore linen suits as opposed to the current cotton/cotton-blend suits they currently wear :biggrin:).

This is just like the Mariage shops in Paris!

In the past, the waitstaff were all male at the Japanese shops--is that a French tradition?

No — it's a Mariage tradition. :biggrin:

They also use white cloth tablecloths and napkins, and the straws for iced teas are made of paper, not plastic.  They use heavy flatware and very simply designed, classic-looking tableware.  But for all the formality of appearance, I find it to be a very casual place.  As Ms. Pilgrim mentioned, they are so very helpful and solicitous there.  And they have no problem with letting you sit about with your single pot of tea, even if the line is getting longer out the door.

Again, just like Paris.

What traits mark "French style" tea?  Is it that they are usually served without milk?

That is part of it. The French are more reluctant to add milk than the British. I always put milk or cream in black teas (or red teas by Chinese standards) since an Indian man told me that it helped the tannins not to stick to the œsophagus. Also, "French style tea" may not be substantially different from "English-style tea", it's just that Mariage is sooo Parisian. And they like to label their own tea style as "French".

Does "confidential tea shop" mean one of those shops that only a few people knew about and appreciated?

Yes.

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Taking Ptipois' cue, I've started this threads to discuss favorite places to buy and drink tea in Paris.

I normally buy my tea at either Mariage Frere or the Palais du Thé but would welcome other suggestions.

This discussion reminds me that I would like to try the Maison des trois thés in the 5th (Ptipois, I am sure you have been)

The mosque de Paris (below) is an idyllic place to sip mint tea, even if the quality of the tea is somewhat generic.

gallery_7346_2565_1919.jpg


www.parisnotebook.wordpress.com

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The mosque de Paris (below) is an idyllic place to sip mint tea, even if the quality of the tea is somewhat generic.

Another place is the cafe/restaurant (light stuff) in the courtyard of the Monde Arabe.

John Talbott

blog John Talbott's Paris

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I do not recommend la Maison des Trois Thés.

Teas are very overpriced, flawed information is given; there are even more serious flaws I'll refrain from stating here. Just avoid it.

The good news is that there are decent Chinese tea houses in Paris, with a good choice of quality teas. My favorite is L'Empire des Thés on avenue d'Ivry (13e), it also has the best value, and they are very serious and helpful.

Also Ch'a, rue du Pont-de-Lodi (6e), a small Chinese tea house-cum-restaurant; Thés de Chine on the lower part of boulevard Saint-Germain; Zenzoo in the 9e, specialized in Taiwan-type tea including bubble tea; good Japanese teas may be found at Tamayura and Chajin and I saw a recently-opened Chinese tea house near the Hotel de Ville. I haven't gone there yet. Finally, I spotted a tiny teahouse in the Wenzhou area, 3e, on rue des Gravilliers or rue au Maire.

I have to check the addresses, sorry I do not have them at hand. Gilles Brochard's Le Guide du thé à Paris has all the necessary information.


Edited by Ptipois (log)

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There's a place around the corner from me, Le Parti du The, on rue Faidherbe (11th), recommended by Clotilde at C& Z. I've been inside but haven't bought anything. Based on my non-expert glance, it seems to have some interesting/serious stuff, particularly, if I remember, in the Indian teas, if not in the same quantity as MF and PdT. One word of caution-the hours are slightly irregular, so perhaps best to call or pair it with a trip to the Marche d'Aligre.


Shira

Paris

lespetitpois.blogspot.com

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Host's Note

I've merged this topic on Mariage Freres to the existing topic.

I have only been to the Grands-Agustins location. How does the Faubourg St-Honore location compare to it?

A friend will be joing me to Paris, for her fist trip, in a few weeks. She does enjoy her tea and will enjoy doing some shopping and perhaps enjoying a break for the!!

Thanks for any help..........


Edited by John Talbott (log)

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I always know that I will get the best information..thank you. It will be the the rue du Bourg-Tibourg location for us!

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While it's not a tea salon, for a few hours last Saturday, the Librarie La Martiniere Le Seuil became a "tea house" when our energetic France Forum contributor and loyal eGullet Society member member Pitpois, aka Sophie Brissaud, the author of a new book - "La Table du Thé," editions Minerva - bought, made and served tea and food at a book signing/party. If you're walking around St Germain, drop by 17 Rue Jacob, the whole right window is dedicated to it.


Edited by John Talbott (log)

John Talbott

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Thanks John!

I would like to add that the menu (prepared from my own white hands) was steamed monkfish liver, Japanese style (ankimo), Turkish-style stuffed mackerel, Chinese tea eggs (cha ye dan) and various Persian pastries I had bought at the Iranian caterers on rue des Entrepreneurs (no way I could make those pastries as well as they do).

Served with Iranian citrus-flavored red tea (a gift from a friend), Chinese shui xian oolong tea from Fujian, and a very rare, single-bush song zhong dan cong from Guangdong with notes of ripe mango and orange blossom.

I have to mention that the book has beautiful photography from star photographer Isabelle Rozenbaum, whose blog may be seen here. The title photo on the blog is from La Table du thé.

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Julie Street, in November's France Today suggests the following places:

Hotel Costes

Le The des Ecrivains

Chajin

La Maison de la Chine

Mariage Freres as well as the boutique La Maison des Trois Thes.


John Talbott

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Another reason not to subscribe.


Anti-alcoholics are unfortunates in the grip of water, that terrible poison, so corrosive that out of all substances it has been chosen for washing and scouring, and a drop of water added to a clear liquid like Absinthe, muddles it." ALFRED JARRY

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Ptipois, I was sorry to read of your dislike of the service at Trois Thés. A year or so ago I had a wonderful experience there. I went in with some tea samples about which I knew little. A friend had brought them back from a trip to China. She said they were sold to her as high-end teas and she got them for me as a gift.

I had brought small quantities in baggies, as well as photocopies of the original packaging. The first salesperson couldn`t help me, but asked Maître Tseng to come out. She spent nearly 20 minutes with me discussing my samples. This was even though (1) I had degraded them by bring them in baggies and (2) the packaging was not descriptive, i.e., it was poems, etc.

Maître Tseng examined two of my samples and said they were very cheap teas, as well as being stale. The third one she said was in decent shape and then she brewed it. It was nothing special, although it was at least drinkable.

This was my first visit to Trois Thés and I felt incredibly well treated by the owner herself, particularly since I was not even in the process of buying something.

I do agree with you about Mariage Frères. I've never been impressed with them.

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