Afternoon Tea in Paris: A Delightful Cultural Experience
When it comes to indulging in the finer things in life, there are few experiences that can rival afternoon tea in paris. And when it comes to finding the perfect place to enjoy this quintessentially English tradition, few cities can compete with the charm and elegance of Paris. With its rich history of art, fashion, and gastronomy, it should come as no surprise that the City of Light is home to some of the world’s most luxurious and decadent tea rooms. From classic French blends to exotic infusions, from delicate pastries to buttery scones, afternoon tea Paris offers a unique and delightful cultural experience that is not to be missed.
The Origins of Afternoon Tea in France
Although afternoon tea is often associated with Britain, the tradition actually has roots in France. In the 17th century, French aristocrats would gather for a mid-afternoon snack of tea, cake, and sweets. This practice eventually made its way to Britain, where it evolved into the elaborate and formal affair we know today. But even as the tradition became more closely associated with Britain, it remained popular in France as well. In fact, many of the best-known Parisian tea rooms date back to the early 20th century, when the city was at the height of its cultural and artistic glory.
The Best Places for Afternoon Tea in Paris
When it comes to finding the best afternoon tea Paris, the options are truly endless. But a few stand out as must-visit destinations for anyone looking to experience the best of French tea culture.
Iconic Parisian Tea Rooms: Angelina and Ladurée
No discussion of afternoon tea Paris would be complete without mentioning Angelina and Ladurée. These two iconic tea rooms are beloved by locals and tourists alike, and have been serving up decadent treats for over a century. Angelina is perhaps best known for its rich and velvety hot chocolate, which is the perfect accompaniment to its famous Mont-Blanc pastry. Ladurée, on the other hand, is famous for its colorful macarons, which come in a variety of flavors and are almost too beautiful to eat.
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Angelina is a historic tea room in Paris, founded in 1903 and located on the Rue de Rivoli near the Louvre. It is known for its opulent Belle Epoque decor and famous hot chocolate, made with rich African cocoa and served in a small pitcher alongside whipped cream. The tea room also offers a variety of pastries, including its signature Mont Blanc, a dessert made with chestnut cream and meringue.
Angelina has been a favorite of celebrities and high society for over a century, and has been featured in films and novels such as “The Da Vinci Code” and “Marie Antoinette.”
Photo Credit: @Laduree
Ladureé is a luxury French bakery and sweets maker, best known for its iconic macarons. Founded in 1862 by Louis-Ernest Ladurée, the company has become synonymous with Parisian chic and elegance. Its flagship store on Rue Royale in Paris features a salon de thé where customers can enjoy a wide variety of pastries, teas, and coffees in an elegant and refined setting. In addition to macarons, Ladurée offers a range of other baked goods, including cakes, croissants, and éclairs.
The brand has expanded globally, with stores in cities such as London, New York, and Tokyo, and has become a symbol of French patisserie around the world.
Unique Tea Rooms in Paris: Le Bristol and Mariage Frères
For those looking for a more unique and intimate tea experience, Le Bristol and Mariage Frères are not to be missed. Le Bristol is one of the most luxurious hotels in Paris, and its tea room is every bit as opulent as you might expect. The tea selection is extensive, and the pastries are works of art in themselves. Mariage Frères, on the other hand, is a tea house that has been in operation since 1854. Its selection of teas is unparalleled, and the staff are happy to help you find the perfect blend to suit your tastes.
Photo Credit: @lebristol
Le Bristol Paris features a renowned tea room, called the Salon du Jardin Français. Located on the hotel’s picturesque interior courtyard, the tea room offers a tranquil and elegant setting for guests to enjoy a traditional French tea service.
The menu features a selection of teas from the French tea house, Dammann Frères, as well as a variety of sweet and savory treats, including scones, macarons, finger sandwiches, and quiches. The tea room has become a favorite among locals and tourists alike, and is considered one of the best places in Paris to experience the art of French tea time.
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Mariage Frères is actually a French tea company, founded in 1854 and based in Paris. It is known for its high-quality, gourmet teas, which are sourced from around the world and blended according to traditional methods. The company operates several tea rooms in Paris, including its flagship location on Rue du Bourg-Tibourg in the Marais district, which features a retail shop and a tea salon.
In addition to its extensive tea selection, Mariage Frères offers a variety of pastries, sandwiches, and other treats to complement its tea service. The company has become a destination for tea lovers from around the world, and has earned a reputation for excellence in the world of tea.
Salon Proust at the Ritz Carlton
Photo Credit: @ritz
The Ritz-Carlton in Paris is home to the famous Salon Proust, named after the celebrated French writer, Marcel Proust, who used to visit the hotel and enjoy its tea time. The tea room has been lovingly restored to its original 18th-century style and exudes an elegant, refined ambiance. It offers an extensive tea selection that includes rare and unique blends sourced from all over the world.
Guests can enjoy their tea accompanied by delectable pastries, cakes, and finger sandwiches prepared by the hotel’s talented pastry chef, François Perret.
While the above tea rooms are some of the most well-known and beloved in Paris, there are many other options to explore. Here are four more places to add to your list:
Café de la Paix
Photo Credit: @cafedelapaix
Café de la Paix is a historic tea room and restaurant located in the heart of Paris, adjacent to the Opéra Garnier. Founded in 1862, the café has been a favorite of Parisians and tourists alike for over a century. The tea room is known for its opulent decor, with marble columns, crystal chandeliers, and frescoes adorning the walls and ceilings. Its menu features a wide range of teas, as well as a variety of French pastries, including eclairs, tarts, and madeleines.
Café de la Paix is considered one of the most iconic tea rooms in Paris and is a must-visit for those seeking an authentic Parisian tea experience.
Photo Credit: @fourseasons
The Four Seasons George V is one of the most luxurious hotels in Paris and boasts a stunning tea room located in the heart of the hotel’s courtyard. The tea room is adorned with beautiful floral arrangements and exudes a serene, peaceful ambiance. It offers a selection of classic and exotic teas, including rare and unique blends sourced from all over the world. Guests can indulge in delicious finger sandwiches, pastries, and scones, all served on elegant tiered platters.
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Le Meurice is another iconic Parisian hotel that offers a luxurious tea time experience. The tea room is located in the hotel’s magnificent Salon Pompadour, which features a stunning ceiling fresco and an exquisite chandelier.
The tea room offers a selection of classic and exotic teas, including a signature blend created exclusively for Le Meurice by Dammann Frères. You can also enjoy delicious pastries, cakes, and sandwiches prepared by the hotel’s Michelin-starred pastry chef, Cédric Grolet.
Shangri-La Hotel Paris
Photo Credit: @shangrila
The Shangri-La Hotel in Paris is housed in a former palace and offers a truly majestic tea time experience. The tea room is located in the hotel’s grand salon and offers spectacular views of the Eiffel Tower. It offers a selection of classic and exotic teas, including a signature blend created exclusively for the hotel by the French tea brand, La Durée. Guests can also indulge in delectable pastries, cakes, and finger sandwiches, all prepared by the hotel’s Michelin-starred chef, Christophe Moret.
Each of these tea rooms offers a unique and unforgettable tea time experience, combining the finest teas and delicious delicacies with the charm and elegance of Parisian hospitality.
Tea Selections: From Classic to Exotic
Parisian tea rooms offer a wide variety of tea selections, from classic blends to exotic flavors. Some of the classic tea blends that are popular in Paris include Earl Grey, Darjeeling, English Breakfast, and Assam. These are often served with milk, lemon, or honey, depending on the tea and the individual’s preferences.
In addition to classic blends, many Parisian tea rooms offer a variety of exotic teas, such as Chinese and Japanese green teas, oolong teas, and rare white teas. These teas often have a unique taste and aroma and are served with a special tea set that enhances the tea-drinking experience.
French Tea Traditions: The Art of Pastry Pairing
In France, there is an art to pairing tea with pastries. The idea is to select a pastry that complements the flavors of the tea, rather than overpowering it. For example, a light and delicate tea like white tea pairs well with a simple pastry like a madeleine, while a strong black tea like Assam pairs well with a rich and decadent pastry like a chocolate éclair.
In addition to pastries, many Parisian tea rooms also offer savory snacks like sandwiches, quiches, and pâtés. These can be a great option for those who prefer something salty or savory to balance out the sweetness of the pastries.
Music and Entertainment: Live Performances at Afternoon Tea
In addition to the delightful tea and tasty treats, many Parisian tea rooms offer live music and entertainment during afternoon tea service. The Ritz Paris, for example, often features a live harpist, adding to the elegant ambiance of the tea room.
- Le Bristol’s tea room often features a pianist, who plays soft melodies to create a relaxing and romantic atmosphere. The tea room at Mariage Frères also occasionally features live music, with musicians playing traditional instruments from different parts of the world.
- Angelina’s tea room is particularly known for its live jazz performances, which add a playful and modern twist to the traditional French tea experience. The tea room at Ladurée occasionally features live piano music, adding to the romantic and sophisticated atmosphere of the space.
Delightful Accompaniments: From Macarons to Croissants
No Parisian tea experience is complete without some delicious pastries to accompany the tea. Parisian tea rooms are known for their delectable selection of sweet and savory treats, ranging from macarons to croissants and everything in between.
The most iconic pastry that is typically served with afternoon tea in Paris is the macaron. These delicate and colorful cookies are made with ground almonds and filled with a variety of flavored cream or jam. Ladurée is one of the most famous macaron makers in Paris and is a must-visit for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Other popular pastries that are commonly served with tea include madeleines, éclairs, and scones. These treats are often made with high-quality ingredients and are designed to complement the flavors of the tea.
Dress Code: The Perfect Parisian Attire for Afternoon Tea
One of the unique things about Parisian tea rooms is the dress code. While some tea rooms have a more relaxed dress code, others require guests to dress up for the occasion. This can be a great opportunity to don your most stylish Parisian attire and really immerse yourself in the culture of the city.
For men, a suit and tie or a smart jacket with trousers is appropriate attire. Women can opt for a chic dress or skirt with a blouse, or tailored pants with a blouse or sweater. It’s always a good idea to check the dress code of the tea room you plan to visit in advance to avoid any surprises.
Afternoon tea in Paris is not just a meal, it’s a cultural experience that captures the essence of the city’s elegance and refinement. From the grandeur of the Ritz Paris to the charming tea rooms, Paris offers a diverse range of options for those seeking to indulge in the delights of tea culture.
As you explore the city, be sure to take time to savor the unique flavors and blends of Parisian tea rooms. Don’t be afraid to try something new and step out of your comfort zone – you may just discover a new favorite tea blend or pastry.
Overall, we highly recommend adding afternoon tea in Paris to your itinerary when visiting the city. It’s a wonderful way to experience the beauty and culture of Paris in a unique and memorable way. For more options about what to do in Paris, make sure to check our blog on 45 fun things to do in Paris!