Brought back by special request and because I overslept and heck..Mariage Freres is a trip!
The orange book lists the 500 teas you can order and a load of tea history, which you're in no condition to absorb. You're too overwhelmed by the glory of just being in Mariage Freres...
You wander out of the salon and naturally turn into the shop in a semi-blitzed state of mind. The shop is a little bit small and a little bit dark and a little bit crowded with other blitzed-out tea drinkers.
You've just come out of an opium den so to speak, so you're ready to buy anything and everything and it's all delicious looking AND the aromas!
And they understand your state of mind. The sales staff could not be more patient and understanding, unlike most Parisien shops. I couldn't resist the silver tea spoon and a tin of The a l'Opera (green tea flavored with fruits and spices). I needed them for still life purposes of course...
The vitrine (windows) at Mariage Freres are so chic and so colorful! Not quite what you'd expect from the premier tea importers of France since 1854.
The story goes that in the early '80s two foreign students were exploring the Marais and "discovered" the old shop. Marthe Mariage (the last living family member) and her employee were inside sewing up cloth teabags for their catering customers amidst old tea chests. A bond was formed and together they evolved the "French art of tea" to it's present form and aren't we glad they did!