Paris abounds in splendid tea salons and tea shops. For those who love to brew, Paris is the tea capital of the world as a result of the high quality and the diversity of fine tea served and sold here. But the tea itself is just the beginning, since the city’s master patissiers, chocolatiers, and tea salons offer up numerous diverting edible options. Here is my favorite short list of where to go to enjoy fine tea out of the pot and delicacies on the plate!
Sadaharu Aoki is a remarkable patissier, bringing his Asian sensibility to inform classic French patisserie. His tiny shop on the rue de Vaugirard is, of course, drop-dead gorgeous, and the patisserie selection is in equal parts intriguing and delicious. The green tea éclairs will stop you in your tracks with their brilliant matcha-infused icing and delicate cream inside. A worthy stop indeed for a first go at “eating your tea.” Aoki has seating where you can order a pot of tea to accompany the éclairs or other patisserie, but it is also near the Luxembourg Gardens if you prefer an alfresco snack (35, rue de Vaugirard, in the 6th Arrondissement; 56, boulevard de Port Royal, in the 5th).
What is it about the left bank? After you hit Aoki, your quest for teatime treats should lead down the rue de Seine (away from Luxembourg, toward Boulevard St. Germain). First, the incomparable patisserie of Gérard Mulot is your place to taste either green tea or tea and mango macarons. Just a block further on the opposite side of the street, Pierre Marcolini, master chocolatier, makes Earl Grey–infused dark chocolates that are very, very good.
On the right bank, Chajin offers superb first flush Japanese green teas and serves selected Japanese tea-infused dishes at lunchtime. My favorite tea-on-the-plate option at Chajin is the white chocolate bar infused with matcha. The bar is a lovely subtle green color, and the flavor is simply delicious with that luscious texture on the tongue that quality white chocolate can provide. These are made by a chocolatier in the Marais using Chajin’s tea. These make perfect gifts for others (or for yourself!). Angelina (226, rue de Rivoli, in the 1st) is more famous for its sinful hot chocolate than it is for its tea, but its belle epoque decor and sumptuous desserts make it a good stop on your tea tour. (It’s an ideal place to take kids for brunch or an afternoon treat.)
Finally, Mariage Frères tea salons offer a mind-spinning array of pure and flavored teas, but they also excel at tea-infused cookies and pastries, including green tea madeleines and financiers, and fruit tartes with tea-infused pastry cream. Lunch or brunch menus at Mariage Frères include various main course or salad options that incorporate teas in artful ways. You can also purchase various jams, sugars and salts infused with tea.
Bottom line, Paris is the place to drink your tea and to eat it, too!
Sally Peabody’s company, Your Great Days in Paris, is dedicated to helping travelers make the most of their time in Paris. Her blog is all about enjoying Paris—on and off the beaten path: peabodysparis.blogspot.com.