The French oddly renamed the afternoon tea tradition “tea-time”, perhaps as an excuse to take a few liberties and make it “à la française”. The Bristol Hotel Paris Afternoon Tea has been a steady favourite of mine this past decade so I try to come whenever possible to update this article. Let’s see if the new tea time is as good as it used to be:
The Setting ★★★★★
Located near the “Palais de l’Elysée”, the Bristol Hotel Paris is a magnificent establishment, one of the best five-star hotels in the country. Everything is tastefully decorated in the 18th-century style, for your enjoyment whether you’re having your tea at Café Antonia or simply walking around the hotel corridors.
The staff is very welcoming and will happily share a few anecdotes which may remind you of the movie “The Grand Budapest Hotel”. Remember to ask about the story behind the lift/elevator and meet the Bristol Hotel Paris resident cat: Socrates (as of 2022), who peacefully enjoys his five-star hotel cat life.
I could write a whole article on the beauty of the Bristol Hotel Paris but a few good pictures are better than a thousand words (these pictures were taken between 2015 and 2018, hence the discrepancies in decoration):
Whether you’ll take the tea indoors in “Café Antonia” or outdoors in the courtyard/garden “Jardin français”, this tea will be perfect for guests who enjoy art, luxurious hotels and tranquillity. I strongly recommend visiting the “Jardin français” and weather permitting, to have the afternoon tea there.
The Café Antonia (2018)
The Café Antonia is named after Marie-Antoinette and it does succeed in making you feel like royalty. The atmosphere is on par with the hotel: grandiose and luxurious.
The Café Antonia is dog-friendly for dogs up to a certain size (~8 kilos).
If you fancy a bit of privacy, I suggest sitting in the red salon, which is located at the back of the Café Antonia.
Le Jardin Français (2018)
Spring is upon us and the Jardin Français is now open for afternoon tea. The flowers are blooming and the corner behind the Epicure restaurant is more beautiful than ever (pictures 1 & 2 below) so do take a stroll around the whole garden.
I especially enjoy the quaint feeling of the courtyard. You may even meet the Bristol’s new resident cat, Socrates, who is may be seen roaming around various areas of the hotel. Regrettably, I wasn’t able to catch a glimpse of the little rascal 🙂
Click here to read about/see the Jardin Français back in 2015-2017:
Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
There is a decent selection of teas from Palais des Thés: black, green, white, oolong and infusions. Each guest can choose one or two beverages from the tea-time menu, which can then be refilled at discretion. An extra beverage will cost you 16€.
The hot chocolate is a marvel, however, I do not suggest ordering it too early, as it will kill your appetite!
The “two beverages per guest” policy is very generous, as most other Parisian establishments only let you order a single beverage per afternoon tea. It is preferable that each guest orders a different beverage, as the refills will allow you to easily share it with your party.
12 teas (4 black, 4 green, 1 oolong, 3 infusions); coffee & chocolate
Tea brewing method: In the kitchen
Click here to read about/see the teas and afternoon teas back in 2015-2017:
The Food: The Bristol Hotel Paris afternoon tea (2022)
The pastry chef Pas cal Hainingue succeeded Julien Alvarez and took on the challenge of designing the new Bristol Paris afternoon tea. The word on the grapevine is that he will move on soon but in the meantime, let’s see how he has fared.
The bar has been set very high, as 2015, 2017 and 2018 versions were simply marvellous in every aspect. Let’s see if the new 2022 afternoon tea can hold its own:
The Savouries ★★★★☆ (2022)
The new sandwiches are reminiscent of British afternoon teas and while they are not as original as in the previous years, two of them deliver well on taste:
- Avocado & Tzatziki ♥
- Chicken & Mayonnaise ♥
- Salmon, Butter & Aneth
- Tuna & Egg mimosa
I’m really glad that the Bristol Paris retains the savouries, as too many others have made the questionable choice of going all out on the sweets. I’ll let you admire then, served in a gorgeous Raynaud Wing Song porcelain plate.
Click here to read about/see the Savouries back in 2015-28
The Scones & Canelés ★★★★★ (2022)
Each guest is served a walnut-citrus flavoured scone ♥♥♥ and a vanilla canelé, I recommend eating them fairly quickly as they are best enjoyed warm.
Each scone is served with clotted cream and three different sorts of jam (strawberry, blueberry & marmalade).
Click here to read about/see the Scones, Muffins & Madeleines back in 2015-2017:
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★ (2022)
Inflation is all around us and the Bristol afternoon tea is no exception: the cakes & sweets selection is a bit more frugal than before, though I’d argue that this is preferable to the price hikes we’ve been witnessing everywhere else. The cakes are as follows:
- Eclair tout Chocolat (cocoa puff pastry, cocoa crusty & Peruvian chocolate chips)
- Tate au citron (Limoncello sablé, lemon meringue)
- Upside-down Coffee cake (coffee crémeux, coffee biscuit & coffee mousse)
The cakes are a bit less original than what we’ve been used to at the Bristol but they deliver on both taste and appearance.
Click here to read about/see the Petits Fours & Pastries back in 2015-2017:
The Service ★★★★☆ (2018)
The Bristol Hotel Paris is quite welcoming for a Parisian luxury hotel: the atmosphere is quite laid-back compared to what you might see at the Ritz or at the Meurice.
The Café Antonia team is professional, courteous and knowledgeable about each aspect of this tea time.
Click here to read about the Service back in 2015-2018:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★ (2022)
The Bristol Hotel Paris Afternoon Tea has changed drastically over the years and even though it isn’t as good a deal as it used to be, it’s still a fantastic experience that is bound to delight both gourmets and tea lovers.
While this afternoon tea retains a full mark, I can’t help but feel like the selection is a tad underwhelming compared to previous years but that seems to be a global phenomenon and especially in post-pandemic/high inflation times…
I recommend going on a beautiful day so you can sit in the Jardin Français: this garden seems to get more and more beautiful each year, despite the variations in the modern art sculptures which may or may not satisfy everyone 😉
+: A magnificent Hotel at a great location within Paris’ 8th district
+: The Jardin Français, ever so gorgeous
+: Solid tea & beverage selection
+: Generous tea offer (1-2 teas per person)
+: The food
+: Good service
+: Great value for money
-: The 2015-17 tea time will be missed
-: Slightly frugal as of 2022
Phone: +33 (0)1 53 43 43 42
Click here to read the article’s Conclusion back in 2015-2017: