On a wintry February afternoon I met with my girlfriends at Marriages Frères for a ladies afternoon. Admittedly, I had no idea what this place was when I got the text message saying that’s where we were going… The name literally means Brothers Marriages so, don’t judge me.
What Is It?
Marriages Frères is a French tea-house and restaurant founded in 1854 that boasts the largest tea menu in- wait for it- the world! Who would have thunk it? From Jasmine, to Earl Grey, perfumed to gourmet and chocolate. It has tea workshops, a tea museum, a tea library, tea club and locations in Tokyo, Berlin and London. And to think I thought the English were the tea people :)
On The Inside
The place has a Grand Budapest Hotel feel to it with its golden colored walls and eye-popping orchids (they are real and huge… really huge!). The décor was definitely that of a mini tea museum with pieces from the tea era that were showcased in delicate light, some in glass casing and other beautiful shiny intricacies. And let’s talk about the lighting, which was perfect; not blindingly bright but not a shade of we have to use the brightest filter on our phone cameras either. We chose to sit downstairs as the seating upstairs is not as spacious and was already quite peopled as the tea counter, area for buying tea and accessories) is part of the upper space. The effect of being at Marriages Frères is that it gets you unconsciously feeling sophisticated, sipping tea with pinkies in the air and all.
Once seated, we were greeted by a waiter in full 1850’s tea garden garb. He handed us what is the most extensive tea menu I have ever seen and more impressive still, when asked about the difference between teas, he knew everything, EVERY THING, about the teas. I have a sneaky suspicion that the employees there are all knowing tea masters.
The tea was served piping hot in individual tea-pots for every single person at the table. We then chose desserts that were equally as artistic as the interior décor and paired sublimely with the tea.
If you want to get your sophistication on and enjoy something warm with something sweet, Marriages Frères is the place. It was an excellent afternoon spent in an establishment full of history, perfect service and, as is the case with most things Parisian, la classe. TREAT YOURSELF!