Author: Juliette Doutreleau
If you're a Japanese tea lover in Paris, we've curated a list of places that will pique your interest. This collection includes a mix of traditional Japanese tea salons and hidden gems that blend French and Japanese flavors.
1. Toraya Paris: Kyoto Tradition Meets Paris
Close to the Jardin des Tuileries and Place Vendôme, enter Toraya Paris. As the French branch of the famous Japanese confectionery house dating back to the 16th century, Toraya provides an authentic Japanese tea room experience. You can enjoy a selection of Japanese teas that can be paired with sweets: an-mitsu, oshiruko, matcha ice cream or even kakigori in the summer, as well as a selection of seasonal wagashi. You can also purchase Toraya Paris exclusives, such as red-wine poached fig yokan or Calvados apple yokan! The minimalist decor creates an atmosphere of tranquility, making Toraya an ideal escape for a taste of Japan without leaving Paris.
2. Ogata: The Ultimate Tea Experience
If you’re ready for a high-end tea experience, head to Le Marais and treat yourself at Ogata, a unique place created by Japanese architect and designer Shinichiro Ogata. Within the walls of a 17th century hotel particulier, this high-end establishment reunites in the same building a tea salon, a Michelin star restaurant, a bar, a tea and wagashi boutique and an art gallery. Imagined as a tea sanctuary, Ogata Paris aims to unveil a modern universe of beauty and serenity. There are different tea courses and menus to chose from, and on Saturdays and Sundays you can also try a Japanese Asazen brunch inspired by traditional food served in Japanese Zen temples. Booking is essential for most experiences but a few tables have been set up in the main hall to enjoy tea and wagashi in a slightly more casual setting.
3. Neo.t: A Locals’ Favorite
If you’re visiting Paris, you’ll probably find yourself at some point in the charming Abbesses-Montmartre area! Neo.t, a small tea shop opened in 2007 by passionate owner Valérie Stalport is well-worth a visit. The minimalist interior serves as a canvas for a meticulously curated collection of Japanese (but also Chinese, Nepalese, Indian) teas from small producers and various terroirs, as well as teawares and ceramics from talented artisans. For a truly French tea souvenir, you could purchase a beautiful tea bowl, cups or gaiwan from French ceramist Manon Clouzeau. You could also try some interesting tea cultivars from Kagoshima family Hayashi, or the excellent Kabusecha from the Island of Yakushima grown by farmer Mankichi Watanabe (he only produces a couple dozens kilograms a year).
4. Rayonnance: French Pâtisserie With a Japanese Touch
It’s no secret that Paris boasts amongst the best pâtisseries the world has to offer. Head to hidden gem Rayonnance, a recently opened pastry shop run by Yuki Hayato, an experienced Japanese pastry chef trained in classic French desserts, and associate Lumi Hachiya. Our top recommendation for Japanese tea lovers is the Hojicha Saint-Honoré: three puff pastry choux filled with a Hojicha and chocolate custard. They also sell matcha ice cream and matcha cookies. The menu changes regularly so keep an eye out on their Instagram for their seasonal selection. If you’re feeling adventurous, you could try their 18 month aged Comté cheese cheesecake that would pair well with a Japanese Bancha.
5. Les Trois Chocolats: Artisan Chocolate between Paris and Fukuoka
In a small street of the Saint-Paul area, not far from the Seine riverside, you’ll find Les Trois Chocolats, a chocolate shop run by 3rd generation Japanese chocolatiere Emiko Sano, whose father runs the popular Chocolate Shop in Hakata, Fukuoka. Fulfilling their dream to have a Paris shop, Emiko and pastry chef Sho Kimura make chocolates and pâtisseries in the tiny basement of the shop. They use Japanese ingredients (matcha, Hojicha, mirin, yuzu, miso, black sesame) that bring a twist to classic French chocolates.There are over 25 flavors of delicate chocolate bonbons: their meticulous presentation and elegant packaging make it an ideal gift to bring back to friends and family. One of their best-sellers is the crunchy praliné matcha chocolate bar that you might want to stock up on!
Juliette Doutreleau is a pastry chef whose work is at the intersection of French and Japanese food cultures. https://www.instagram.com/