Hi Frugalistas! If you know me you know I love afternoon tea. I particularly love afternoon tea in Paris. My favorite Paris afternoon teas have included Le Meurice afternoon tea (my first high tea in Paris) and the Ritz Hotel Paris afternoon tea in the Salon Proust. So why am I writing about afternoon tea at the Ritz Paris again? Because at the Ritz Hotel Paris afternoon tea comes with a choice of venues – the very formal Salon Proust, or the more casual, but just as fabulous Terrace. On my most recent trip to Paris, my friend KB and I treated ourselves to a traditional afternoon tea on the iconic Ritz Hotel Terrace.
Arriving for tea at the Ritz Paris
KB and I had spent the morning and early afternoon sightseeing and shopping and had missed lunch. It was around 3.30pm when we turned up unannounced to the Ritz Terrace and asked for a table. In early May the Terrace was only about a third full, so we were quickly seated without a booking.
Unlike the Salon Proust, the Terrace at the Ritz Hotel is a casual dining area with an extensive menu. Fortunately the French afternoon tea menu is quite straightforward – afternoon tea, or champagne afternoon tea. As with the Salon Proust afternoon tea and the Ritz London afternoon tea, champagne is the Ritz Hotel’s own champagne, with a choice of brut or rosé. The tea menu features a good range of choices, but KB and I went quite traditional – Earl Grey for KB, and Darjeeling for me.
What is included in the afternoon tea at the Ritz Paris?
For a French afternoon tea the afternoon tea at the Ritz Paris is quite a traditional English style afternoon tea. Served on the classic 3 tiered cake stand, we were treated to a range of light and tasty sandwiches – even a tiny smoked salmon baguette. We were also served a range of scones with a choice of jams, and of course, like the best English tea, thick unctuous cream. I must say, the scones were particularly delicious – so light and fluffy, they literally melted in the mouth.
While everything on our 3 tiered cake stand was lovely, I couldn’t help but think something was missing. Any afternoon tea menu worth its salt surely had cakes? And a high end afternoon tea, that some would think should be the best tea in Paris would surely have cakes, and possibly tarts, and certainly pastry, non?
Fortunately we did not have to worry about any lack of cake for long. No sooner did he sense our 3 tiered stand was nearly done, than our handsome, young waiter reappeared to offer us – cake! Bringing us a tray of the cakes and pastries on offer for the day we were able to make our choice seated at our table. While everything looked fabulous we finally settled on our choices: a coffee pecan mille feuille for KB, and a wild strawberry cheesecake for me.
Both cakes were delicious, but as it often the case, our ambition was greater than our tummies. Just as the case in the Salon Proust not being able to finish our afternoon tea was not a problem. While we attended to our bill they were whisked away and returned to us in the Ritz Paris signature doggy bag to take home for later.
What I think of the Ritz Paris afternoon tea
Make no mistake, I did enjoy my afternoon tea at the Ritz Paris Terrace. The afternoon tea itself was tasty and high quality. The service was professional, yet smiling and chatty. It was great to wander into such a popular and iconic place to eat in Paris without a reservation and spend an enjoyable afternoon.
But here’s the BUT……..
The Ritz Hotel Terrace afternoon tea is not the best afternoon tea in Paris, and here is why. The Terrace itself is certainly a lovely destination, but it can’t compete with the sense of occasion that the Salon Proust offers. And with its glass roof and afternoon sun, I’m sure it must be terribly hot in summer. At €88 (including champagne) or €68 (without) it is the same price as the Ritz Paris Salon Proust afternoon tea, and while it is a better balanced tea than the all sweet Salon Proust offering, it just wasn’t as special.
I don’t think the Ritz Terrace afternoon tea is quite as nice as the traditional afternoon tea I enjoyed at Le Meurice. Le Meurice’s afternoon tea was more generous, the setting was unbeatable and I loved the sheer gentility and people watching in the Lounge where the tea was served. And it was significantly cheaper.
Where to have afternoon tea in Paris? Well, it depends on what you are after. If you want a smart, traditional afternoon tea, I would book a table at Le Meurice. If you want to indulge yourself and have a special treat, then the Salon Proust would be my current pick (although I’ve not been to the Crillon as yet). However, if you want to enjoy an afternoon sitting in the sun enjoying a good afternoon tea, then the Ritz Terrace afternoon tea could be the one.
All prices are correct as at November 2019. KB and I paid for our own afternoon teas at the Ritz Hotel Paris.