Pretty much the most magical, beautiful place in the world for a tea drinker.
The tea shop is absolutely incredible, with a colonial decoration and spirit.
I really enjoy being able to smell the teas from the huge containers before choosing and buying them. To enjoy that, it’s much better to come during the week, rather than on weekends, when the shop is always between quite full to completely packed.
I am already preparing with relish my shopping and to-be-smelled-before-choosing lists for my next trip to Paris.
The tearoom is also a very good place for the afternoon tea and a quite nice place for a brunch; I probably have been eating / taking tea there a small dozen of time over years, both in the teashop located in Le Marais, rue du Bourg Tibourg and also in the Rive Gauche, located 13 rue des Grands Augustins, also very nice. I have never been to the other two places in Paris though.
Having not been into tea the last time I was in Paris, and very intrigued about all of Mariage Freres’ flavors, I knew this had to be a stop on my trip. Despite wanting to take home some of just about every tea, I managed to limit myself. As Adham said, at the flagship store in the Marais there are actually two shops across the street from each other. I went on a Saturday, and the shop with the pre-packaged tea was nearly empty while the main shop with the by-weight tea was jam packed. I found it nice to sniff all the teas in the pre-packaged shop (they have stoppered jars out), rather than in the main shop, which also has sniff-samples out, but there were way more people in front of the shelves. The pre-packaged shop had a smaller variety of teas out for smelling, and neither place had all of them of course.
There was an army of employees behind the counter and an organized line for ordering your tea by weight. It was fairly hectic, and I got the feeling that the guy I was helped by would have been happy to help me if I didn’t know what I wanted, but on a busy day like that they weren’t going to let any one linger too long. I had a list of teas, though, so I just ordered the ones I wanted (100g minimum on each tea) and in a stunning display of efficiency was out the door after my order rather quickly.
Not an experience to be missed if you are a fan of French teas and in Paris, but if you want time for tea discovery, consider going on a week day!
It is an experience you should not miss if you happen to be in Paris. Love this place so much. Do some research via the website first so you know what you are looking for. :) And do not miss the tea room there. Seriously. It is wonderful. All the dishes have tea as an ingredient and I’ve had wonderful treats there.
The mecca for lovers of Mariage Freres tea – their flagship store in Paris’ 4th arrondissement. Actually two shops across the street from each other; one sells pre-packaged tins of their tea, as well as tea jelly, tea chocolates, and tea making paraphernalia, the other sells tea in bulk in addition to their other branded items, and also features a wonderful tea room. The tea room is small and crowded, and not cheap – but a fantastic place to have a big pot of whatever kind of tea you like along with light fare which often features tea in the preparation (tea-crusted chicken, that sort of thing). If you like their tea, give yourself a limit on how much you want to spend before going in there, and then be prepared to spend a little bit more than that. Their linen-suited employees will uncover the massive tins of bulk tea behind them for you to sniff out your favorites. Unless you really want to build up your collection of Mariage Freres 100g tea tins, always go for buying tea in bulk – they use old brass scales to weigh their wares and always put in an extra scoop before sealing up the bag.
Heaven on Earth!