There is something transformative about sitting in Le Meurice, snuggled in a gigantic armchair, enjoying tea served in porcelain crockery. It’s easy to imagine yourself as a celebrity waiting to give an interview or a character in a Truffaut film, soon to disappear into a mysterious hotel room with a lover. Afternoon tea at this magnificent spot is as much role-play as it is a haven of dainty baked goods.
The five-star hotel has pâtissier Cedric Grolet at the helm – and boy, does it show. The €50 afternoon tea spread offers Thé Mariage Freres infusions or Alain Ducasse hot chocolate, plus a three-tiered selection of treats. Expect mini-sandwiches on the bottom, scones (still warm) in the middle and at the top, three of Golet’s pâtisserie creations. The pleasure is proportional to the floor: the levels get better as you go up.
Among our absolute favourites is the plain scone – buttery, mellow and downright blissful slathered in cream and marmalade, and the lemon tart with a light golden meringue middle. Crack it open to see its three levels: lemon curd, lemon mousse and lemon pieces. It’s a true work of art. Time slows down, the musicians begin to play, the light shifts from afternoon to evening, and the bar’s first customers begin putting in their cocktail orders. It's a painful bump back to earth back on the streets but this is luxury treatment we could get used to.