Traveling to Paris in winter takes a lot of planning. The weather is gloomy, and the sun sets early to make visitors search for a perfect way to spend the afternoon and evening warmly without suffering from the cold and discouraging grey sky. ObonParis introduces you a fantastic idea for an unforgettable winter memory in Paris: Afternoon tea at Hotel Ritz, placed in the famous Place Vendôme.
The plaza built during the Louis XIV era, Place Vandôme shows symbolically French architecture and spatial art style. The octagonal square was designed by Jules Hardouin-Mansart, famous for being the architect of the Palais de Versailles. In the center of the square, you can see the huge emerald-colored Vendome Tower, constructed by Napoleon to commemorate his great victory in the battle against the Austrians in December 1805. It is a historically important place, but it is also the best photo spot in Paris at the end of the year thanks to the dazzling tree decorations during the Christmas season. Place Vendôme also accommodated Danton and Louis-Napoleon, leaders of the French Revolution, and witnessed composer Frédéric Chopin’s last moment.
The most iconic place in Place Vendôme is arguably the Hotel Ritz. The place stores splendid histories in the early 1900s with its guests and regulars, mainly Belle Epoque’s legendary artists such as Hemingway, Scott Fitzgerald, Coco Chanel, and Marcel Proust. It made the hotel prestigious enough to be awarded Palace status and titled one of the world's most luxurious and beautiful hotels.
Author Ernest Hemingway, who called Paris his second home, loved Ritz and stayed for a long time. He used to sit at the bar to have a drink and write. To render honor to the great writer, Ritz Hotel changed the name of the bar to Hemingway Bar. A cocktail named Hemingway Whiskey is still available, and the bar is decorated with Hemingway’s books and mementos reminding of the novelist. Coco Chanel actually loved Ritz enough to say "The Ritz is my home", and lived there for 30 years. The room with a view of Place Vendôme is still open as a suite.
With such stories, Ritz is not just a luxury hotel but a meaningful space as one of the most iconic places during the Belle Epoque era in the 1900s.
Ritz has a tea room named Salon Proust since the great French writer Marcel Proust, famous for In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu), cherished and frequented.
As a private and quiet tea time place, the salon doesn't have many seats. So you need to make a reservation beforehand through the website at least a couple of weeks ahead. A few days before the visit, you will receive a confirmation email. If you don't reply to the email the reservation can be canceled, so care to read it and respond. When entering, you want to give the name of the person who made the reservation, for your coat to be kept safe during your tea time. Note that the staff guides you to the seat, so refrain from entering and sitting by yourself.
When you get into the warm and elegant tea room, you will soon notice the whole decorations with antiques and classic details preserving the Belle Epoque era's ambiance. The inspiration of great artists and celebrities is still alive.
Glittering silver high-end tableware is set on the table. The french afternoon tea time in Ritz Hotel reflects the tea culture of french aristocrats in the 18th century.
Tea time is a part of European culture. It was developed over time when 18th and 19th-century European nobles tried to get over the long lethargy between lunch and dinner time. In France, tea salons played an important role as a cultural exchange and socializing occasion. In fact, the word “Salon” was used to refer to the reception room of the upper-class mansions, where upper-class intellectuals had conversations and debated on various topics such as literature, art, politics, and science. In other words, tea time in France is not just a break time but a magical time for deep conversations and thoughts.
Now that you are in Proust's Salon, why not taste the famous madeleine from In Search of Lost Time? One of the tea-time options for 68€ offers basic pastries and a drink per person. You can choose between coffee and tea. In 88€ and 103€ champagnes are also included. Some small sweets are served while you wait for the full-fledged refreshments. Every dessert is incredibly soft and tasty and the portion is very generous. If you don't finish all the dessert, you could ask for leftover takeaway. A calm and relaxing ambiance will set you in a good mood for deep conversation. Even the cold steps back from the room.
Coming out of the salon, you can see a beautiful passage under splendid golden lights. Fantastic objects are gloriously posed in the windows to amaze you at every step.
Ritz hotel's garden is a must-see spot, especially if you visit Ritz in the afternoon. It is said that Proust wrote part of his story of In Search of Lost Time in the garden.
If you are in the search of Belle Epoque time in Paris, tea time at Ritz Hotel could be a perfect idea. Let yourself discover the lovely place where legends are still breathing and being written.
Words&Photo : Obonparis Team
RITZ PARIS - Salon Proust
Address : 15 Pl. Vendôme, 75001 Paris
Transportation : Metro ligne 1 Tuileries, ligne 8 Opéra, ligne 12 Concorde, ligne 14 Madeleine
Opening Hours : Mon-Sun 14:00-18:00
Booking : Click here