Le Salon de thé de La Pagode

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  • Cafés
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© John Brunton
7th arrondissement

Le Bon Marché is a Paris shopping institution, grandiose in the style of London’s Harrods. So in 1895, when the flamboyant owner Monsieur Morin decided to build a palatial pavillion in his garden as a birthday present for his wife, it was no surprise that the architect came up with an extravagant replica of an oriental pagoda, inspired by the influence of ‘Japonisme’ that was sweeping Paris at that time. in the '30s, La Pagode took on a new life as an art house cinema, while its delightful oriental garden became the venue for a romantic salon de thé, one of the hidden treasures of the city. The garden is absolutely enchanting, with towering bamboo and a jungle of tropical plants, tiny paths weaving between giant statues of tigers and dragons, the exterior of the pagoda decorated with swirling ceramics and intricate stained glass windows. The café is only open from the Spring through to Autumn, and if it rains then the place is closed, as simple as that – so no booking in advance. A little patience is needed with the staff too, as they also run the ticket office, meaning that service in the café is more or less suspended when they let movie-goers in for a new screening. Although a choice of gâteaux are brought in from a local pâtisserie every day, it's the tea that everyone comes here for. At €4.50 a pot, you can choose from Thé du Tigre, a smoked black tea from Taiwan, Japanese Green Tea, Thé du Hammam – delicately perfumed with fleur d’oranger, rose and green dates – or the ever-reliable Earl Grey.

Venue name: Le Salon de thé de La Pagode
Address: 57 bis rue de Babylone

Opening hours: Tue-Sun 3pm-9pm (Easter-November)
Transport: Metro: Saint-Francois-Xavier
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