Hi Frugalistas! Enjoying an afternoon tea in a fancy hotel is one of my favorite strategies for enjoying a first class experience without completely breaking the bank. I’m always on the hunt for the best afternoon tea in Paris so continuing my Paris afternoon tea reviews I’m pleased to bring you my Hotel de Crillon afternoon tea review.
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Tea time in Paris – booking the Hotel de Crillon afternoon tea
Like many Paris afternoon tea offerings, you need to either know where to look on the Dining menu of the website or be prepared to hunt around a bit to book the Hotel Crillon afternoon tea. It is lurking on the Crillon website under the Jardin d’Hiver. However, once found it was very easy to book the Hotel de Crillon afternoon tea using the online booking engine.
The tea time Paris menu is only available Wednesday to Sunday between 3 and 6pm. If you try to book your afternoon tea outside these times you will be given the option of booking “dessert a la carte” (ie not afternoon tea). What you need to book is the “Tea time gouter des Lords”. The Hotel de Crillon Jardin d’Hiver is quite a small room with limited seating, so even during low season you should be prepared to book well in advance. Booking for a Sunday 8 weeks in advance in September we were offered a limited choice of times. Bookings are required for afternoon tea.
Once you have found the right option, booking is quite straightforward.
Experiencing the Hotel de Crillon afternoon tea
We arrived a little early for our booking and our table was not ready. Our jackets were taken and we were offered a seat in the cosy hotel lounge. The hostess maintained good eye contact with us as we waited so we knew we had not been forgotten. After ten minutes or so we were invited to our table – one of the luxurious tables on the central round couch.
Mr Frugalfirstclass and I were celebrating our wedding anniversary on this trip to Paris and I had made sure we let them know that when we booked. As soon as we sat down everyone who came to our table greeted us warmly and wished us a happy anniversary. It was nice to be welcomed like that.
The tea time menu is quite straightforward. The food menu consists of a pre dessert, followed by savoury and sweet treats. There was a range of different teas and coffees, including a range of grand cru teas available for a surcharge. Champagne, wines and cocktails were also available.
Our tea and Champagne choices made, it was time to settle into the Jardin d’Hiver. The lounge itself was quite busy and a number of people were also sitting in the courtyard outside. Many visitors were enjoying a quick drink rather than the full high tea in Paris experience.
First up was our pre dessert. A small bowl on a raspberry theme. Meringue, raspberry mousse with white cheese and buckwheat. Mr Frugalfirstclass correctly picked the almost sherbert-like quality to the meringue which really elevated it above the norm.
The highlight of any traditional afternoon tea is the arrival of the 3 tier cake stand, and at the Hotel de Crillon ours arrived with suitable flourish. What made this different was that we were given our own stand rather than having to share. My first impression was how colourful and appetizing everything looked.
There were three different savoury offerings: a toasted cheese and rocket sandwich, grilled vegetable foccacia and a lobster roll. Everything was light and very fresh. The choices that should have been served warm were. We both appreciated the difference in colours, flavours and textures. If I were to criticize, the lobster roll was a little on bland side with little of the promised lime in evidence. But that is just being picky…….
As is usual there were also viennoiseries to tempt us. Each was light and tasty and as a group were well balanced. Creamy, crispy, fluffy and buttery…….
Like the best Paris afternoon teas, our afternoon tea at the Hotel Crillon saved the scones till last, so they were warm. We were served a mixture of warm brioche with apricot and salted caramel, as well as two different scones – plain and fig with cranberry. The brioche was delightful, but while the French are wonderful patissiers, they are not fantastic scone cooks based on my experience. At the Hotel de Crillon it was no exception. Our scones were generous in size and lovely and warm, but were unfortunately a little under cooked we both decided. The accompanying jam and clotted cream was generous and tasty.
Service was attentive yet unobtrusive, and rather than just topping up our tea pots with more hot water, we were offered a second pot, freshly made. Second glasses of Champagne were brought promptly.
Afternoon tea in Paris – Hotel de Crillon afternoon tea final thoughts
The tea time gouter des Lords offered at the Hotel de Crillon is a very good afternoon tea. Paris is quite competitive when it comes to afternoon tea offerings and the Hotel de Crillon is certainly right up there as one of the best tea rooms in Paris. Is it the best high tea in Paris? Depending on what you are looking for, it could be.
Like the afternoon tea at Le Bristol there is a charming terrace (although terrace seating cannot be guaranteed), and like the Salon Proust at the Ritz, the Jardin d’Hiver is an intimate and sumptuous setting worthy of a special occasion, that has a greater sense of occasion than Le Meurice.
When it comes to food, I still think the Le Meurice afternoon tea sets a very high bar, as good as the Hotel de Crillon is. And while the Ritz Hotel afternoon tea at the Salon Proust is very good, it is all sweet, so the Hotel de Crillon offering is better balanced.
So really, the best afternoon tea in Paris is up to you!
You can find out more information about Jardin d’Hiver Hotel de Crillon afternoon tea and check current prices here.
We paid for our own afternoon tea at the Hotel de Crillon.