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Tea glorious tea. Paris is truly the tea-capital of the world and here is one more reason why. Le Parti du Thé, a bright little tea boutique is an easily accessible and very well stocked teashop in the heart of the Faubourg St. Antoine/Rue Paul Bert foodie-hub. Le Parti du Thé is dedicated to bringing the multi-national world of tea to everyone and anyone remotely interested, sans the sometimes less than engaging ‘attitude’ of some of the more formal teashops in Paris.
Pierre Lebrun is the friendly young owner of Le Parti du Thé. He presides over his perennial tea party with passion and pride. Pierre has been fascinated for years with fine teas and with the worlds of taste and gustatory pleasure that teas engender. Early in his tea-focused career he followed his learning-about-tea passion to Asia, learning about teas, blending teas and tea importing. He now works with Olivier Scala, a renowned French tea importer and blender, to design and procure teas for the shop. Pierre has a deft and subtle touch that distinguishes his teas and makes the trip to the shop so very worthwhile.
When thinking of opening his own shop to compete with the ranks of the established and venerable Parisian shops and tea companies, Pierre hit upon a winning business formula emphasizing the accessibility, quality and variety of fine teas, while encouraging customers to taste and buy tea at whatever point they enter the flavor-chain. Tea is indisputably ‘hip’ whether for those who love fine flavors or are interested in healthful beverages, and Le Parti du Thé projects a youthful, contemporary vibe.
One entire side of the shop is devoted to the ‘wall of flavors’ that visually and viscerally demonstrates the differences in green, white, yellow, black and red teas as well as between pure, blended and flavored teas. Teas are displayed in cork topped clear glass jars with descriptions simultaneously poetic and to the point. This embarrassment of choice is actually very useful for customers pondering the spectrum of excellent choices for their brews. Customers are encouraged to open the jars, to smell, to image the flavors awaiting in just the right personal brew. Not surprisingly customers often emerge from the shop with one of Le Parti du Thé’s vivid red and green bags just a little fuller than they anticipated upon entering the shop.
And there is more than tea available. The center of the shop is chock full of attractively designed contemporary teapots, cups and tea paraphernalia…. no charmingly antique blue willow here! And the teas are sold in amounts beginning with 100 grams (approximately 3.5 ounces) in beautiful red bags or in tins or in attractive boxes appropriate for gifting. All teas are labeled with the correct brewing temperatures and times. Prices are very fair for tea of this quality commencing as they do in the five to six Euro range for numerous choices and rising for pure ‘grand cru’ teas or rarer aged Pu Ehr teas.
Le Parti du Thé is one of those very Parisian shops run by impassioned, knowledgeable and engaging proprietaires who delight in sharing their bounty with interested customers. Set as it is near the foodie destination of the rue Paul Bert, Le Parti du Thé is well worth the short trip on the metro to Faidherbe Chaligny. Follow your visit to Le Parti du Thé with a stroll on nearby rue Paul Bert and a browse in the terrific little culinary cookbook shop, La Cocotte, and lunch at L’Ecalier de Bistrot, Bistro Paul Bert, or even a copious salad at Les Funambules and you have the makings of one fine Paris day. Following on the tea theme, one can stop in the sweet little Algerian patisserie Tesnisme for tea brewed from fresh mint leaves and sample nut and honey filled patisserie in a mind-boggling array of shapes and styles. Tesnisme is located at 207 rue Faubourg St. Antoine near the Faidherbe Chaligny metro stop.
Le Parti du Thé, 33 rue Faidherbe. Metro: Faidherbe Chaligny or Charonne. Open Tuesdays through Saturdays, 10:30-7. www.lepartiduthe.com
Sally Peabody is President of Your Great Days in Paris, a specialist company focused on leading and advising adventurous travelers to find their best in Paris. Tea lovers should order her E-Guide Paris. Tea Capital of the World. Sally will be leading new “Paris Off the Beaten Path” four-day tours in spring and fall that will take you to these wonderful spots and many more. http://www.yourgreatdaysinparis.com