I've been very bad about posting photos and stories about our latest trip to Paris. In fact, it has become sort of a tradition around these parts to write about our travel adventures-- in Paris or anywhere else-- about the same time we are starting to pack our bags to head back there or there or there. Time does fly when you are having fun!
Which is why it occurred to me that this tasteTea IMBB? event, hosted by the wonderful Clement, would be a good opportunity for me to start dusting off some of the hundreds of photos taken in March and chat about one of our favorite things to do whenever we are in Paris.
This is a brief remembrance of things past, a trip back to some of our favorite tea shops in the city but especially to our beloved Mariage Frères, not far from our home away from home, our favorite little hotel in the Marais, our favorite corner of the city.
We visited the Marais salon on a Saturday afternoon, a day that had started very early with Ispahan and jam shopping at Pierre Hermé and a long breakfast with a view at Le Café de la Mairie (8, place Saint Sulpice 75006 Paris Tel : 01 43 26 67 82), steps away from my favorite church in Paris, Saint Sulpice.
After breakfast we walked to the Luxenbourg Gardens, me, holding tight to Mr.C's arm, being very careful not to slip in my high heeled boots on the snow that covered most of the gras, gravel trails and streets.
From there we continued until we arrived at the chocoholic heaven that is Christian Constant's boutique (37, rue d'Assas Paris 6 Tel 01.53.63.15.15), where we shopped for mandarin orangettes, pistachio and jasmine tea chocolates, jams, Maison Faguais coffees and all sorts of beautiful confections (nougat and fruit pâté among others) to take home.
On this day we had also walked down towards the gorgeous flat I had stayed at a couple years ago at 75 rue de Rennes, in search of the little "Porcelaine blanche de Limoges" store that was so much fun to shop at (discounted, no less!).
We crossed the river to the 4th by cab (the chatty, sweet and friendly French cabbie of Tunisian ancestry spoke to us about living in Paris as a jew during World War II, gave me a hug when he dropped us off at 11 rue de Temple and helped with our many bags) put away our loot and from there we walked across the street to BHV for more a little bit more shopping (love their kitchen and table floor).
By the time we exited the store and walked to Mariage Frères we were absolutely exhausted. A whole morning and afternoon had been spent and so were we.
It was time for sitting down with a cuppa, a beautiful and tasty pastry and plan the evening ahead.We welcomed the change of pace as we could use some relief from the cold wind, rain and snow that followed us all the way from New York to Charles de Gaulle and the streets of Paris Paris during our holiday.
Mr. C was looking forward to a few hot cups of his favorite fruit infused black tea while I could not wait to sit down and enjoy a pot of the most delicate of teas I've ever tasted at Mariage Frères, their Thé Blanc & Rose, a blend of white tea (Yin Zhen) and tender rose buds.
While we waited for our table we perused the shelves of the very busy shop, sniffing teas, candles and browsing books, taking comfort in the familiar smells and sights while learning of the latest seasonal blends available for sale.
Our table was ready so we headed up the very steep and narrow steps to the second level where we would eventually make new friends with the ladies sitting at the table next to ours. And wouldn't you know it? They were visiting Paris from New York, Los Angeles and Seattle--downtown no less--in fact a skip and a jump away from me.
One of the gals chatting with us happened to be the very fabulous owner (famously so) of what many ped friend peeps around the country consider to be the top shoe boutique in downtown Seattle. She was in Paris attending some of the shows during Fashion Week along with some of her fashion centric friends from both coasts.
A Seattle shoe store owner/buyer and a Seattle shoeaholic meeting in Paris. Serendipity! We laughed and laughed at the coincidence.
The tea arrived and while it steeped (seven minutes timed by an hourglass) we continued chatting and by the time we were all done with our pastries and pots full of delicious tea, the white clad gentlemen were handing us out our checks.
It was time to close up shop for the night. We exchanged emails and restaurant recommendations (for Seattle--Lark, Pair, La Carta de Oaxaca-- & Paris) and giggling wished each other good night. In Paris, with lovely tea and in such great company, life was indeed a bed of roses.
A note about Mariage Frères Thé Blanc & Rose:
This tea is amazing. It is like drinking what happens to be one of my favorite fragrances in the world and a prized bottle in my collection: Creed's Private Collection Fleur De The Rose Bulgare.
The reason I'm telling you this is because you must really love roses to truly adore this blend. It is gorgeous to look at, with its beautiful white tea leaves and rose petals, slightly perfumed but also its delicate flavor also comes at a premium.
The tea sells for 35 Euro at the shop and the pot of tea was 17 Euro. With an exchange of almost 1.40 this was a real splurge.
If a trip to Mariage Frères is not in the cards for now, you may order this tea and much more(tea candies, candles, book, accessories), of course, via mail, directly from France but my recommendation is to place a large order as shipping tends to be around the 20-25 Euro mark. Happy drinking!
Mariage Frères Thé Blanc & Rose
Moment de dégustation- Journée
Quantité nécessaire de thé-5 g
Température idéale de l'eau-85°
Temps d'infusion recommandé-7 min.
Caissette de thé- Blanc & Rose
Réf : TK2308
Prix: 35.00 Euro
Présenté dans un 'cha ba ko', caissette-écrin en bois habillée de papier noir, ce thé blanc exceptionnel est constitué des jeunes bourgeons du Yin Zhen parfumés par de tendres boutons de rose. Sa tasse est cristalline, son parfum fleuri et doux, sa saveur fraîche et velouté. Ce cha ba ko contient 50 g de thé.