Saturday, 7 January 2012

a bit of Nice tea shopping

So a year ago, I wrote A few Nice places for tea and that piece dealt with places to drink tea in Nice, France. Try as I might've this time around, I don't have much to add in that regard. And the few new places I do have to recommend each deserve their own individual blogposts. 

But let's say you do roll into Nice (or fly in, whichever the case may be) and you realise you didn't pack enough loose-leaf tea at the beginning of your trip. Are you really going to be forced to go to Galeries Lafayette and buy a box of tea leaves from a major French tea brand? Well, you certainly can do that. Am not entirely sure how long the tea's been sitting on the shelves, but it'll certainly do in a pinch.

a wall of Mariage Frères 

Kusmi Tea and Dammann Frères
They have Mariage Frères, which is quite good. Then there's Dammann Frères, which I don't know well, but I see there boxes all over. Finally, there's also Kusmi Tea

Xavier's done some research on Kusmi, and here's his post on a radio interview that he transcribed and translated (An interview with Kusmi).Their tea (that I've seen) is flavoured and a tad pricey , so I've not taken the plunge and tried them. Nevertheless, I've heard good things about this company, and I'm sure one day I'll give it a go (Xavier assured me that they have unflavoured tea. I've not actually seen it).

The next place you might try is Bjeteman & Barton (11, rue Maréchal Joffre 06000 Nice +33 1 (0)4 93 92 70 22), which is apparently a high-end Parisian tea brand. Their shop in Nice is centrally-located and they have quite a good selection of both loose-leaf and bagged tea, as well as plenty of attractive tea gear. It's not an Asian specialty shop, but for nice Wester-style teapots, cups and saucers, this is definitely an excellent destination. Again, this is an upscale establishment. I certainly didn't say you'd be able to leave without lessening the weight of your wallet.

Here's a photo of their front window:

Bjeteman & Barton

The place I was most impressed with last year and even more so now that I've gotten my hands on a copy of the book The Tea Drinker's Handbook, which was written by Francois-Xavier Delmas the founder of Le Palais des Thés (3, rue de la Liberté 06000 Nice +33 4 93 81 56 16). Beautiful book (also written by Mathias Minet and Christine Barbasteand beautiful shop. 
This place knows what they're doing. I'd say this was the French answer to Teavana, but it's likely the other way around. I suppose that the American chain could've modelled itself on this French one rather than vice versa. 

Here's a photo of their storefront:

Le Palais des Thés
tea ware at Le Thé
Around the corner and several hundred metres away in rue Pastorelli is yet another tea shop. This one's called Le Thé (39 Rue Pastorelli 06300 Nice +33 04 93 80 45 79), which is clearly more Eastern in appearance. They have an impressive selection of tea from around the world, but the tea ware (exquisite clay teacups and teapots) is clearly of the Asian variety.

Xavier noticed something before I did: many of the distinctive flavoured tea from Le Palais des Thés were identical here at Le Thé. To be clear, it's most definitely not a franchise. Le Thé is selling tea under their own name, but the exact same names indicate the same source for their more auspicious blends.

To be candid, the few teas that we compared at both locations were a tad more economically priced at Le Thé, but it definitely wasn't substantial. Not sure it's worth going out of your way for the minuscule difference, but it is worth noting.

you can find the shop easily under the bright green sign
And now I have a bit of a cliffhanger for you gentle readers. The whole time I've been here, I've walked by one last  teashop, but always at the wrong hour. The shop is open often enough. It's just that I was there too early or too late. Even today on my last day, I arrived right in the middle of their midday break. Here's the thing, though. I was so impressed with La Route du The that I've resolved to write an individual blogpost for this shop. It was that extraordinary. 

So, even though I've given you a rather thorough review of some of the teashops in Nice, you'll have to wait just a bit longer for my review of the one I enjoyed the most. You can barely contain your anticipation, can you? I know you all pretty well. 


  1. So, Joe, if you were rolling (or flying) into Frankfurt (and/or the countryside west of there), do you have any recommendations for finding decent tea there?

  2. How did we get from the Riviera to Hessen in Germany?

    Yes, I'm sure I can come up with a few answers for you. Let me dig a bit of information up. I love a challenge.

  3. Don't know how to reach you otherwise, but these are the two recommendations I have:

    In Frankfurt proper: Teehaus Schnoor ( Apparently, the shop is very 'homey' and the teaseller is quite knowledgeable and helpful with questions/requests.

    Then a bit west of Frankfurt is Wiesbaden, and there is a shop called 'Kobu Tee und Futon' ( Other than the name and a quick gander at the website, I know nothing about this place.

    Please let me know if that was helpful, ok?

  4. Thank you very much, I think this post will be extremely useful! I'm going to take my first trip to Nice soon and I'm absolutely going to visit some tea shops there. I do already have many sorts of tea at home but oh well, a few more wouldn't be bad, right..? C: Can't wait!

    Sorry if I have some mistakes in this post, I'm Finnish and I think my English isn't so perfect ._.