Last month we experienced a delightful afternoon tea service at Le Meurice, while also learning the fascinating history of the legendary hotel.
Charles-Augustin Meurice, the French postmaster, opened Le Meurice as one of the first luxury hotels in Paris by fulfilling the need of upper class English tourists who desired the creature comforts of home when they travelled to Europe.
The first Le Meurice opened in Calais as a coach inn and was followed by Le Meurice Paris on the rue de Rivoli, providing an English speaking staff, currency exchange and comfortable quarters for British clientele.
A celebrated guest of the hotel was Salvador Dali, who spent a month every year in the royal suite for over 30 years. In 2007 the lobby salon was renamed Le Dali and was redesigned by Philippe Starck. Capturing the spirit of its namesake, Starck commissioned his daughter Ara to paint a 1,560 square foot surreal canvas mural on the ceiling, and just recently she designed a complementary carpet in a similar style.
Alain Ducasse is the current chef and his pastry chef Cédric Grolet has created quite an impressive array of pastry and savory bits at teatime. Although the menu reflects a traditional English high tea with scones, jam and clotted cream, finger sandwiches and small pastries, the presentation is anything but; the delicacies are served on an oblong cart with a chrome frame and black glass tiers.
We enjoyed three updated finger sandwiches with fillings consisting of olives and artichokes, beets with goat cheese and beef gravlax. Following our delicate sandwiches we indulged in a triple pastry threat: a lemon tart covered in a silver dome, mini-Paris Brest and finally crisp cookies with pine nuts. Did I forget to mention we also had scones?
Besides traditional and exotic teas and coffee, hot chocolate from Alain Ducasse’s bean to bar chocolate boutique is served.
If that wasn’t enough decadence for you, Le Meurice will extend your pleasure with the Cocooning Teatime Champagne menu. It not only has the menu above but also a glass of Champagne, a treatment at the on site Valmont spa of either the anti-aging facial or a massage with honey or orange blossom body oil plus access to the hammam, sauna and relaxation room. Cost: a mere 240€ per person.
50€ per person
High tea served 3:30PM -6PM
228 Rue de Rivoli, 75001