Nice, Côte d'Azur, France
For the first few days I was in Nice, I had a horrible time finding a good place for tea. On my last full day, I stumbled into a handful.
If I hadn't seen these teapots, I'd have thought this was merely a coffee shop. The smell of coffee was overwhelming, but here and there mixed with the coffee were tins of tea. The variety for such a small shop was impressive, but the prices were a bit on the steep side. It's Nice's old town, so I shouldn't be surprised. As Alex said in the comments of my last post, the French seem to be focused on blends. This place was no exception. There were some very interesting looking blends, but since many of them were scented, I just couldn't be convinced to try one.
One corner of the shop was devoted to loose-leaf tea, and luckily these seemed to be predominately unscented teas. Like I said, quite a variety. There were a few selections of tea from each well-known region of the tea world. Were I staying here in France much longer, I'm sure I'd purchase a few of these teas on display.
So, this place is called Cafés Indien, and you can find it at 2/B, rue Sainte Reparate 06300 Nice (phone 04 93 85 67 08). They were very friendly, as well as helpful with all of my questions.
Once I found the first shop, then really nice cafes, which also sold tea, started coming out of the woodwork. The first one was around the corner from La cathédrale Sainte-Réparate and was called Le Café Marché. I've even located a website for this one (http://www.cafe-marche.fr). Very inviting little place, where the teas offered were served beautifully. You can find it at 2 rue, Barillerie 06300 Nice (phone 08 99 23 02 80).
This is exactly the kind of place I've been searching for the last week. So many places call themselves Salon de thé, but only have cheap teabags to offer (Ice Hellion explained why in the comments to my last post). Here's the board listing what tea they serve:
And here's what it looks like from out front:
The next place I happened upon serves tea from Mariage Frères and was a shop with exactly my kind of vibe. It's advertised as a cookie shop, but don't let that fool you. It's called Emilie's Cookies & Coffee Shop, and according to their website (http://www.emiliescookies.com), there's another location in the modern city centre. Until I've seen both, I can only vouch for the one in the old town. Here it is: 1 Rue Préfecture, 06300 Nice (phone 04 93 79 88 40). The front door doesn't scream out 'Drink tea here':
But once you go inside, it's another story. Really comfy couches and chairs, and free wifi. Not a bad deal. Exactly my kind of place.
Finally, I'm going to mention a very pleasant looking place that serves quality tea, as well as fantastic chocolate. Had I not found the other places, I might've stepped into Lenôtre at 14, avenue Félix Faure 06000 Nice (phone 04 92 26 17 00). It's very chic, and I'm sure it's the only acceptable place for tea, for some people, after an exhausting day at a bunch of high-end shops. The chocolates looked divine through the window, but luckily (because I'd had enough tea at that point) I didn't have to make my way past them to get to the tea room. I've chosen to wrap up my tour of tea salons in Nice with a couple of photos of this beautiful place: