Tea Time in Paris’ 11th
My neighborhood in the 11th is nothing fussy. On the corner there’s a boulangerie, a boucherie, a tabac, and a typical french bar, the kind where men start drinking wine at 8 am and where the bartender doesn’t give a rat’s ass if you smoke inside. Despite the fact that the area abuts the über trendy Oberkampf region, somehow Parisian hipsters haven’t yet managed to contaminate this little neighborhood with their “smuggery” (smugness+snobbery).While most establishments are standard french, a few discreetly cool places have infiltrated the block to shake up the neighborhood’s old school image.
Take for instance Murmures & Délices, a tea house overlooking the Square Gardette on Rue Lacharrière. On a particularly nippy day a few weeks ago the Swede and I wandered in with hopes of finding something to warm us from within. We were welcomed by a charming woman who sparkled with enthusiasm as she encouraged us to explore their enormous tea selection with our noses. We delved into the beautiful rainbow colored boxes and explored the aromas of mango, coconut, ginger, cinnamon, orange, almonds, cloves, vanilla, apple, etc. The “pina colada” tea was so convincing I got a hankering for some goslings! The Swede and I smelled as our hostess excitedly told us a little about the place.
She explained that the owner and tea connosieur Arnaud Dhénin, after extensive travels throughout India, Asia, and Africa, decided to open a tea business in Paris in order to educate his compatriots about his favorite libation. His teas feature organic ingredients from around the world, blended according to his well trained palate.
Today you can order bags or colorful canisters of tea online or stop by the boutique/salon in the 11th and have a sniff before you make a selection. Since the Swede prefers black teas and I prefer green, we opted for an assortment of Christmas blends to cover our bases. For a black tea we picked Noël à Paris, a blend of three Chinese black teas with vanilla, almonds, apple, cinnamon, cloves, and rose petals. For a green we picked Noël à Moscou which was a more delicate, soothing version of the Noël à Paris.
Practical Info: The shop is the perfect place to buy gifts for the tea lover in your life, or simply to sit, sip, and flip through one of the many coffee table art books or national geographic magazines scattered throughout the salon. Every month the salon hosts a concert, lecture, or cultural performance as well. For a list of upcoming events check out their schedule. Free wifi is also available.
17 Rue Lacharrière in the 11th arrondissement.
Salon website: http://www.murmuresetdelices.com
To purchase tea online or to read about the history and health benefits of tea: http://www.lautrethe.com