Last summer while on our trip to Paris, we discovered the most beautiful tea shop/salon called Mariage Frères. We happened upon the store by happy accident; while strolling the streets randomly as we often find ourselves doing when on vacation. The shop was beyond beautiful. It was so well appointed and the staff seemed as if they were characters in a novel. It emanated colonial style with its beautiful oak bars and gorgeous tea tins lining the walls. I stood in the entrance and gaped; and in the end I didn't even go in. I was rained on and too self conscious about how casually dressed I was to go in. That, and the intense, uniformed staff intimidated me! Such regret!
Luckily, a couple days later I discovered Mariage Frères teas available for purchase at a gourmet grocery store (it was really more like a gourmet department store, it was that big and that full of variety). I have great love for tea. Perhaps it stems from nostalgia of cups of orange pekoe with my mother and grandmother when I was growing up. I was already coming back home with boxes of Kusmi tea (also fabulous) so I didn't hesitate to pick up a few Mariage Frères teas as well, despite not having tasted it. I don't subscribe to one camp or another when it comes to tea (fruity versus smokey), so I am pretty open minded and chose something called Marco Polo. At the airport on the way home, I also noted they had some Mariage Frères teas, so I snapped up another box of French Breakfast tea.
Both Mariage Frères teas were worthwhile purchases. I coveted them at first, which is why I still have some left after all this time but I'm trying a new strategy these days; to use the things I have rather than letting them expire unused in a futile attempt to hold onto things. The weather is starting to get cooler, which makes me crave a hot cup of tea in the afternoon. A great cup of tea makes a work day a whole lot better.
I have since learned that Mariage Frères teas are available at Holt Renfrew during the holiday season, (maybe year round?). If you see it and you are a tea lover like I am, treat yourself to a box. You won't regret it. (Oh ....and go into places that intimidate you rather than regretting that you didn't. Moral of the story and all that!)