A Mariages Freres Moment

Ah, Paris! How I love thee! For our 10th wedding anniversary, Gene and I went to one of our favorite destinations – Paris. And while I have several adventures to report, I have to start with one of my favorite moments: a pilgrimage to Mariages Freres.

After hours of searching and searching for the elusive 30 Rue Bourg Tibourg, we found a mecca of tea experiences at this famous tea market and salon at 5 p.m. Upon arrival, we were immediately welcomed and ushered through the market and to the salon itself. This airy, British Colonial-feeling room let in showers of natural light from the skylight that was nearly the length of the room.  All the servers were wearing white linen suits, and they were just so nice!

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Black teas and green teas and white, oh my!

The menu, itself, was overwhelming – with hundreds of choices: white teas, green teas, black teas, breakfast teas, afternoon teas, evening teas, flavored teas… Where to begin??? I let myself off the hook and started with a time of day – Afternoon Teas. Even there, there were nearly 20 choices! So without dithering too much, I chose the “Gentleman” blend for Gene, and “Fils de France” for me.

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The blur you see is the master of tea!

Much to my delight, I was facing the counter at which the ‘brewmaster’ (my term, not theirs) was working his magic. His sole purpose was to take the tea orders, and brew the perfect pot of tea for each patron. It was a fascinating dance, and he did it with such ease and speed – he moved so quickly I couldn’t even get a good photo of him! Note the HUNDREDS of tea blends on the wall behind him.

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Fils de France

And so, our perfectly brewed pots of tea arrived at our table. While I expected a hearty black tea, mine showed up as such a light golden liquid, I wondered if I had inadvertently ordered a white. It was a Darjeeling blend, as it turned out, and had a quiet strength that I found quite lovely. Gene’s Gentleman blend was a dark, dark amber and presented itself as any manly man would – bold, confident, and direct.

The salon was hopping the entire duration of our visit. There was a constant flow of tea enthusiasts of all bents and backgrounds: families with children, old friends, the lone tourist, the gal pals, the comfortable couple.  There was no feeling of being rushed, and the constant flow worked perfectly with people waiting maybe 5 or 10 minutes at the most.

And then, the tea market. I felt like I had died and gone to tea heaven. The walls were lined with canister upon canister of tea. I boldly attempted to explain in French that I ‘searched for a strong, black tea. Stronger, even, than the Gentleman blend.’  ‘Ah,’ he said, nodding wisely, ‘a breakfast blend. A strong one.’ He turned to the wall, tapped his chin in thought, and then, with purpose and confidence, he reached for the bottom row, removed the front canister and reached into the depths. Finding his treasure, and with a triumphant smile, he removed the cover and presented The Duke of Wellington. I inhaled deeply, then Gene was offered a sniff. Grassy, earthy, heavy.Yes, please.

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So happy

It was the perfect experience. The perfect moment. Enjoying some of the best tea with the best possible company. Paris, je t’aime.

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A perfect moment

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8 Comments

Filed under Tea, Tea Room, Travel

8 responses to “A Mariages Freres Moment

  1. Awesome. It’s a great place! When I visited (5 yrs ago) I fell in love with the gorgeous clear glass teapots they were selling.

    • Jen

      The teapots! I was so transfixed by the wall of tea, I didn’t indulge in teapot envy! Well, I guess I’ll just have to find a way to get back there again and right this dreadful oversight…

  2. Wow…I’ve dreamed of going there! Thanks for sharing your wonderful experience ! Love your “A
    Perfect Moment” photo!

    • Jen

      Hi Kate – Thank you! It was certainly everything I had hoped for and more. And to have my one true love there to share it with me, well, it just doesn’t get any better than that!

  3. Nancy

    The best thing about my hotel during my last trip to France was that it was within walking distance of Mariage Freres! I went there my first day, and return a couple of times during my stay. The tea museum upstairs is wonderful, too. I can’t wait to go back!

    • Jen

      That sounds fantastic! I didn’t spend nearly enough time there and didn’t get to peruse the tea museum at all! I, too, must find a way to get back and immerse myself all over again. Thanks for sharing your moment!

  4. Hi Jen – touches me this story does – thanks very much for sending into us @libretea – been talking about paris for a special bd with my honey and now know where we will have to go:)
    thanks very much for sharing
    wendy

    • Jen

      Oh, yes! I can’t think of a better bday destination. Please be sure to share your favorite Paris Tea Moment when (not if!) you take this lovely trip!

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