When you think of Paris, you don’t often think of tea. You might think of coffee, cigarettes, and delicious baguettes; wine, the Eiffel tower and bouquets of flowers, but not tea. This always stood out as a surprising thing to me, as tea can be explored through colour, vintages, growth, fermentation, taste, scent, and blends in the same way wine can—and the French love nothing more than to explore the boundaries of bon vivant (living well and enjoying the treats to the senses).
Though trendy tea based drinks like green, chai, and matcha latte’s have begun popping up on the menu in ‘hipster-esque’ café’s around town, and chilled bubbly mate, rooibos, green, and black tea bottled drinks have begun to line the walls of the bobo (trendy) artisanal food shops, the tea culture has only really begun to pique the interest of the natives.
With the combined benefits of health (the French are one of the few EU countries which vehemently fight off Monsanto and other such evils due to cultural pride in food and protection of the nation’s health) and pleasure (which the French live for), tea is sold as a luxury product, apart from some weak flavored tea bags found in grocery store aisles.
For a good cup of tea in the French capital, you’ve got to know where to go, so I put together a little day trip of the city so you can see the sights accompanied by tea delights.
[SUNRISE] EIFFEL TOWER
The best time to see the Eiffel tower is first thing in the morning before the tornado of tourists arrive, the sun rises just behind the grand radio tower (the Eiffel Tower is a radio tower!) which is beautiful to watch from Trocadero with a (reusable) to-go cup of tea in hand.
[BIKE BEFORE BREAKFAST] SEINE SIGHTS
The Velib bike system in this city is amazing, you can pick up and drop off a bike as you please all around town, and in my opinion it’s the best way to see the sights. The ride down the Seine between the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre is stunning and there are so many beautiful landmarks to behold along the way.
My recommended route: https://goo.gl/maps/mLSR8jCt81R2
[BREAKFAST] LADURÉE LUXURY
Breakfast in this historical Parisian tea room (open since 1862) is surprisingly affordable considering it’s a rather grandiose affair. It is a historical landmark of sorts, known for its magnificent macarons, which unsurprisingly taste even more luxurious with a warm beverage of the tea variety in your hands.
Address: 18 Rue Royale, 75008 Paris, France (there are numerous shops around Paris but this one is the prettiest)
[CULTURAL RAMBLE] THE LOUVRE, PONT NEUF, SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY, NOTRE DAME
It’s impossible to see everything in the Louvre in just one visit but it is worth a little wander at the very least. Pont Neuf and the Notre Dame hold magical sights, and reading a few lines (or an entire book) inside the historical Shakespeare and Company will make you feel like one of the elite members of the bygone writers and artists who made their names and collected their tales in these streets.
My recommended walking route: goo.gl/maps/ExpLHtotwux
[MID-DAY SNACK] NATURATHÉRA
This cosy space is filled to the brim with goodness, and specializes completely in natural health. The shop on the main floor hosts naturopathic and herbal medicines, while the tea bar below serves delicious signature blends of organic teas from around the world, alongside artisanal pastries made with organic ingredients.
Address: 85 rue de la Verrerie, 75004, Paris
[THRIFT TIL YOU DROP] HOTEL DE VILLE, CHATELET, LE MARAIS
Skip all the box stores you find spotted around every major city in the world, and wander instead through the majestic streets of these quintessential neighbourhoods to find some of Paris’ best vintage and second hand stores. I’m a life long thriftier but I’ve seriously never found better quality clothing (probably because it is discarded by French fashionistas) than I do here in Paris.
The Kilo Shop, The Vintedge, Wasted, and Hippy Market are all great spots within the Chatelet area and Free’P’Star, Tilt Vintage, Mamz’Elle Swing in La Marais are worth visiting as well. All of these are within walking distance of the stunning town hall, Hotel De Ville.
[LUDICROUS LUNCH] LE LOIR DANS LA THÉIÈRE
Translating to “The door mouse in the teapot,” this bohemian space inspired by Alice in Wonderland is a feast for the eyes and palate. They’re well known for their delicious selection of teas and their tarts—especially the lemon meringue tart—which will perfectly round out your lunch.
Address: 3 rue des Rosiers 75004
[ROUND, ROUND, GET AROUND] BASTILLE & CANAL SAINT-MARTIN
Work off your lunch with a bike ride through Bastille (be careful of the cars on the roundabout) and up the bike path up to, and alongside, Canal Saint-Martin. The banks of this canal are where ‘real Parisians’ hang out on sunny days and warm evenings. Wander by on foot or by bike—there are some great restaurants and shops to be found along the way.
My favourite place day or night (they have excellent DJs!) is Le Comptoir Général which is a magical mish-mash of antique furniture, fantastic food, and kind-hearted souls. It is a café, restaurant, shop, and club, which sounds tacky, but it is in fact the exact opposite. Wander down the long path off the canal and discover it for yourself.
Recommended Route: goo.gl/maps/yQYowc4NDR22
[BEST CHAI LATTE IN THE WORLD] BLACKBURN CAFE
If you don’t end up staying at Le Comptoir Général, I recommend a close by, but slightly off route café which has the world’s best (in my opinion) Chai Tea Latte. The café itself is all organic and eco-friendly and has the fastest internet in town. It’s pretty cozy too, and near two of Paris’ beautiful train stations, Gare De L’est and Gare Du Nord.
Address: 52 Rue du Faubourg Saint-Martin, 75010 Paris
[DINNER] SOUL KITCHEN
Nestled between Montmartre and Sacré Coeur is a cosy little coffee-shop comme restaurant offering a daily changing menu of vegetarian and vegan food made with fresh local organic and fair-trade ingredients. They’ve got a delicious selection of teas as well which they’ll offer recommendations for.
Address: Address: Soul Kitchen, 33 rue Lamarck, 75018 Paris
Either ride, cab, or metro yourself up to Montmartre as the magic of the evening sets in. Watching the sunset from the Sacré-Cœur is a stunning way to serenade yourself into the evening and the streets which wind through this neighborhood are historical and intriguing. This is where all Paris’ well-known artists have lived and still live, and the view from these heights are breathtaking to say the least.