Tea-and-Tablewares ‘Triangle’ in Paris

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Tea-and-Tablewares ‘Triangle’ in Paris
Paris is replete with alluring tea salons, tea boutiques and irresistible small shops offering lovely teas and a mind-bending array of classic, contemporary, even avant-garde, accessories to set a stunning table.  Yet savvy Paris shoppers and tea-lovers return time and again to a compact area in the 7th arrondissement defined by two excellent "shopping streets," the rue du Cherche Midi and the rue du Bac, and, by the venerable Bon Marche department store.   Of all the Paris quartiers, St-Germain is a beloved destination for shoppers and tea-sippers.  Indeed, St-Germain is perhaps the best quartier overall for choices for fine tea and shopping—no need to crisscross the city for the best-of-the-best when so much is easily accessible.  Perhaps this is a vestige of the literary heritage of a quartier frequented by famed writers and philosophers.  Generations of writers, philosophers, and poets—both known and anonymous—have logged fruitful hours in St-Germain’s tearooms and cafés. Today, St-Germain’s many attractions include the Musée d’Orsay with its magnificent collection of French Impressionists; the lovely Luxembourg Gardens; St-Sulpice Church— home to two glorious murals by Delacroix (whose nearby house and studio is now a very worthwhile small museum); some of Paris’ finest  patisseries (including Pierre Herme and Gérard Mulot), as well as the shops of renowned chocolatiers.  A destination quartier indeed!   Our focus is on the "tea and tablewares triangle" that is a fine destination for tea lovers and for those who appreciate an elegant and welcoming table. First, the rue du Bac: tTake the metro to the rue du Bac stop.  Start on the northwest corner of rue du Bac and boulevard Raspail.  Immediately you will see charming small shops offering beautiful sweaters, classic childrens’ clothes, adorable teddy bears and toys. For unusual decorating touches stop in Sourire (which means "smile").  You will note one of Emilio Robbia’s stunning shops full of flowers and botanica—all fashioned from silk and other natural materials.  Walk a little further to the stunning Les Diners en Ville, and don’t miss a chance to explore this two-story boutique featuring luminescent glassware, tablewares and more, drawn from the best ateliers in Hungary, Spain, Portugala href="http://www.autoeurope.com/showspecial.cfm?aff=bonjourparis" mce_href="http://www.autoeurope.com/showspecial.cfm?aff=bonjourparis" target="_blank" rel=”nofollow”> and France.  Diners en Ville also offers exquisite tablecloths from Beauville, a renowned Alsatian company.  Beauville’s textiles, richly colored and textured, are available in varied designs and sizes and are truly a treasure to bring home for years of enjoyment.  Continuing along rue du Bac, the shopper may be able to pass the jewelry boutiques, shops featuring Provencal Boutis bed spreads, needlepoint pillows, linens, or the charming gift shops and home-furnishing stores with uniquely French products for home and office. If silver serving pieces or cutlery are your passions, be sure to visit the venerable  A la Mine d’Argent.  For less elegant offerings look for the affordable Le Grand Comptoir, accessed through a courtyard at 116 rue du Bac.  Here you might find sweet little accessories, placemats, or irresistible items such as lavender water for scenting linens.   The rue du Bac ends where it merges into the rue du Cherche Midi, just beyond the Bon Marché.  After you have explored characterful small boutiques, this wonderful department store may or may not appeal to you.  But its vast selections of housewares, in addition to clothing (including vintage clothing) and more, all typical of a grand magasin, are well worth several visits.  Food lovers will not want to miss the adjacent Grand Epicerie –a block-square gourmet emporium that gathers the best of the best fresh and prepared French food under one capacious roof.  After all this shopping, head for one of the charming tea rooms along the rue du Cherche Midi (walking east towards blvd. Raspail) for lunch or for a restorative cup of tea.  For a sweet small salon offering simple lunches and excellent patisserie, all accompanied by a nice pot of tea, check out Mamie Gateaux,  at #66.  And just down the street is L’Artisan des Saveurs, a welcoming, warm butter-yellow-toned tea room with well chosen teas, nice lunch offerings, and excellent macarons and delicious patisserie.    If a spicy tagine appeals, head for Chez les Filles, # 64, a raffish little tearoom serving salads and moroccan-inspired plats.  Tea and patisserie are ed throughout the afternoon.   As if this weren’t enough, there are other delightful shops for buying tea and tea accessories.  For an excellent selection of teas, characterful tea pots and such items as lavender-infused sugar crystals, visit the charming proprietaire of Les Contes du Thé, at #60.  Or shop the comprehensive tea selection at Le Palais de Thé at  #61.  Finally, nearly back to blvd. Raspail is Caves Richard,  #48, a firm specializing in fine teas, coffees and lovely accessories.  What a felicitous mix! Delicious tea, lovely tablewares, delectable food, superb pastries, some good shopping.  How French and what fun. Sally Peabody is a travel advisor and writer specializing in Paris  Her company, Your Great Days in Paris, advises independent travelers on getting to their best in and around Paris–on and often the well-traveled path. Read Sally’s bio for more information on her services.
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  • Margaret Ellman
    2017-01-22 22:40:05
    Margaret Ellman
    I haven't been to Paris in over ten years. My favorite store was Diners en ville. Does anyone know if it is still in business? If so what is their email address? Many thanks!