Hi Frugalistas! Did you read my post about my four favorite Paris food treats? If you did, you know that my super special treat was afternoon tea at Le Meurice. I love afternoon tea. It’s such a special occasion regardless of where you have it. But I’m thinking that perhaps, just perhaps, the best afternoon tea in Paris could be at Le Meurice.
Arriving for afternoon tea at Le Meurice
Afternoon tea at Le Meurice is served in the sumptuous Lounge Bar, Le Dali.
Upon arrival my coat is taken and I’m seated on one of the gorgeous blue velvet couches, complete with plenty of cushions to keep me comfy.
The lounge itself has sweeping high columns and mirrors, and is complete with a wonderful painted ceiling. Tables are well spaced, so it feels a bit like a large private sitting room.
I’m presented with the Afternoon Tea Menu, and because I’m dining solo, I’m offered a never opened copy of Paris Vogue to help pass the time.
Options for Afternoon Tea at Le Meurice
Afternoon Tea starts at EUR46, with a glass of house champagne putting the price up to EUR60 (or EUR65 for a labelled champagne). As it was my last day in Paris I decided a glass of champagne was definitely in order. Given the “house” champagne was that of renowned chef Alain Ducasse, who provides the menus at Le Meurice, I didn’t need to look any further.
There is, of course, also a choice of tea or coffee. Tea drinkers are offered a list of different teas to choose from. My flight from Paris was quite late in the evening, so it was caffeine (ie coffee) for me.
Enjoying Afternoon Tea at Le Meurice
My order taken by the charming young waiter, it was only a few minutes before my afternoon tea arrived.
Firstly there was the traditional three layered cake stand, displayed in the traditional manner. Sandwiches on the bottom, scones (with jam and cream of course) in the middle, with the dainty cakes and tarts on top.
Next comes the coffee. Of course, because it is Le Meurice, it’s no simple cup of coffee. It comes on its own silver tray, with milk and sugar. And it’s the heaviest silver coffee pot imaginable. My waiter carries it carefully in two hands like a precious gift.
Then it’s time for the champagne – served by the sommelier. A flute is produced with a flourish before my champagne is poured.
Service complete, it’s time to tuck in……..
Resisting the temptation to go straight to the cakes on the top layer, I start on the sandwiches. Every single ribbon is different in both taste and style. Brioche, focaccia, toasted, fresh, no two breads or fillings are the same. I particularly like an Italian-inspired focaccia with basil and cheese.
I’ve managed a few sips of champagne, but then the sommelier arrives back at the table, clearly worried:
Oh Madam, I would like to replace your champagne. It’s just not bubbling enough to my satisfaction.
The champagne looks perfectly fine to me, but my glass is whisked away and a new bottle of champagne is opened just for me.
Ah, that is much better. Please enjoy this one.
I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to eat scones without making a mess of my plate. Jam and cream always ends up everywhere. But never fear, at Le Meurice that ‘s not a problem. No sooner are my scones eaten than my plate and cutlery is cleared and new ones laid. All ready to tackle those cakes……
I must admit, I was getting a bit full, but contenting myself that it wasn’t a problem because I just wouldn’t eat again till I got on the plane, I soldiered on manfully. A tiny lemon meringue pie, a sublime montblanc (that classic chestnut cake), but then my absolute favorites – a Florentine complete with a fresh fig and the most gorgeous of all, the salted caramel éclair complete with gold leaf on top. The pastry literally melts in the mouth and the hit of salted caramel I wonderfully creamy.
But just when I think I’m finished, it seems I’m not.
A young pastry chef appears, with a baking tray. A baking tray of freshly baked, still warm madeleines. What a lovely, traditional surprise!
An afternoon tea at Le Meurice is certainly not a bargain. But it is generous, beautiful food. You don’t need to eat lunch, and you certainly shouldn’t need dinner so at EUR46 it isn’t “break the bank” expensive for most visitors. Consider it a treat, and plan your budget accordingly.
The day I visited the Lounge was perhaps only a quarter filled, but you can make a booking at Le Meurice concierge desk at the hotel entrance.
I believe everybody deserves a first class experience when they travel, and while most of us could never afford to stay at Le Meurice, and not many of us could afford dinner at Le Meurice, afternoon tea is definitely a more affordable luxury, that if you plan carefully, you can afford.
Le Meurice is located at 228 rue de Rivoli, just opposite the Tuileries. I paid for my own afternoon tea.