After a brilliant afternoon tea at the Crillon Paris reopening in July 2017, I came back to the Crillon a year and a half later to update this article. I had heard that the then pastry chef Jérôme Chaucesse had left and I was a tad worried that the new afternoon tea wouldn’t live up to its previous glory. I was proved wrong: The Hôtel de Crillon afternoon tea is still the best in Paris in the luxury segment. It is yet again more than worthy of its “golden teapot”:
Pour la version française, cliquez-ici – Article updated on December 2018
The Setting ★★★★★
The Crillon Paris reopened in July 2017 after 4-year long renovations. It is now under the management of the Rosewood Hotels & Resorts group, which also owns the Rosewood London.
The hotel sits on the prestigious Place de la Concorde, at the bottom of the Champs-Elysées avenue.
In 1758, Louis XV ordered the construction of two identical neoclassical façades; l’Hotel de la Marine was built on the Eastern side and the land to its west was sold to private individuals who had 4 hotels built, and among them the Hôtel d’Aumont. The Crillon family bought the latter in 1788 but it was quickly confiscated during the French revolution, which saw Louis XVI (grandson of Louis XV) guillotined right in front of the building. In 1907, The Groupe du Louvre bought the building in order to transform it into a prestigious hotel, under its current name “Hôtel de Crillon”. In 2010, it was sold to a Saudi prince who had it closed for renovations in 2013 so as to obtain the “Palace” distinction, which was awarded in September 2018.
The Hôtel de Crillon Paris reopened in July 2017 and looks more stunning than ever. The Lebanese architect who supervised the interior renovations, Aline d’Amman, said that she wanted to “create an architecture that would be worthy of the legend by renovating without breaking”. I would say she’s done a great job and I strongly encourage you to take a stroll around the hotel, as the ground floor is accessible to the Jardin d’Hiver customers.
The afternoon tea is not served there but I can’t resist posting a few pictures of the Brasserie d’Aumont, which is more stunning than ever when decorated for Christmas (pictures taken in December 2018) :
Le Jardin d’Hiver ★★★★★
Afternoon tea is served in the Jardin d’Hiver, which means “Winter Garden” in French. Pay no attention to the name, there are very few plants and the venue is actually a lounge. It’s the perfect setting for afternoon tea: the seats are very comfortable and there is enough space to guarantee some privacy. The gorgeous interior court is visible through the large window, giving plenty of natural light.
The coat of arms of the Crillon family sits above the iconic “Eléphant-armoire à liqueur en cristal de Baccarat” (a crystal elephant-shaped liquor cabinet), a symbol of the hotel (visible in the second picture below). The wall also features a quote by King Henri IV, meant for his friend Lieutenant-Colonel Général Duc de Crillon: “Pends toi brave Crillon, nous avons combattu à Aroves et tu n’y étais pas” which translates to “Repent yourself, brave Crillon, we fought in Aroves without you”. The King saw Crillon as the best captain in the world and both men deeply regretted not to have fought together on the battlefield.
The Jardin d’hiver is decorated for the festive season and it’s more gorgeous than ever. Floral designer Djordje Varda teamed up with crystal expert Swarovski to create this stunning jewel tree (pictures taken in December 2018):
La Cour d’Honneur ★★★★★
The interior court is open to the Jardin d’Hiver customers from 3 pm onward. It is a great place for afternoon tea if you are willing to wait an extra 30 minutes and if the weather allows it. The courtyard is obviously closed this winter but it may reopen as soon as April 2019.
The Hôtel de Crillon Paris Afternoon Tea: Savoury, Sweet & Vegan
The Crillon Paris afternoon tea is available with three distinct options, for the delight of everyone:
- The “Goûter des Lords”/”Lords’ afternoon tea”: savoury bites, scones, cakes and Christmas yule log; served with two hot drinks; 60€ per person ♥♥♥
- The “Goûter des Ducs”/Dukes’ afternoon tea: three cakes and yule log; served with two hot drinks; 60€ per person ♥
- The “Goûter de la Marquise”/Marquess afternoon tea: Vegan melba ice cream, served with a cold drink; 45€ per person
I have a strong preference for the Lords’ afternoon tea as it is the most comprehensive offer and the closest to a British afternoon tea.
The Dukes’ afternoon tea is perfect for sweet-toothed guests while the Marquess afternoon tea is aimed at vegans and small appetites.
The Tea & Beverage Selection ★★★★★
It is a bit of a paradox but many hotels focus on the food when designing their afternoon tea, at the expense of the beverage itself. It’s the ability to excel in both aspects that distinguishes a great afternoon tea from an outstanding afternoon tea.
The Crillon surpasses every Parisian hotel I’ve ever visited in this aspect. Pastry chef Pablo Gicquel and tea expert Lydia Gauthier have worked together to create a tea menu worthy of the afternoon tea. She selected 17 “classical teas” and 12 “grand crus”. Some of the tea categories are oddly named (Oolong tea is called Blue-green tea…) but the tea selection is beyond reproach. It may even be as good as the tea menu of the Ritz Paris, which is a reference in the French capital.
The staff has also received extensive training in both tea making and tea knowledge. The brewing technique is perfect and the staff may help guests who wish to pair the tea with a certain stage of the afternoon tea, or a specific pastry. For example, the Pu’er Tonka (photographed here) goes really well with sweets and even more so with chocolate cakes.
Allow me to recommend the Zheng Shan Xiao Zhong (a delicious lightly smoked black tea) and the Sencha blend (an exquisite blend of Sencha green teas). If paying an extra 19-22€ does not bother you, the connoisseur teas are a must-try, such a the Mount Phoenix Oolong (first picture below).
Each afternoon tea is served with your choice of two classic teas and one glass of (generously filled 🙂 ) Bollinger Champagne
Classic teas: 17 (black, green and infusions) – (11-12€ per teapot)
Connoisseur teas: 12 (black, green, white, oolong, pu’erh and infusion) – (19-22€ per teapot)
Brewing method: Brewed loose-leaf by the kitchen team then transferred to another teapot to prevent over-brewing (best technique)
The Lords’ Afternoon Tea ★★★★★
The “Goûter des Lords” is the only real traditional afternoon tea of the Crillon Paris. I strongly suggest that you prefer this option unless you wish to skip the savouries and the scones altogether.
The Savouries ★★★★★
I’m always a bit wary of the savouries when having afternoon tea in Paris, especially as French “Goûters” are mostly about the sweets. The Lords’ afternoon tea starts with some delicious savouries, which are probably the best one can get when having a French tea time:
- Foie Gras between two biscuits topped with orange Chutney
- Lobster tartlet topped with Petrossian Caviar ♥
- Comté sandwich with spinach and black truffles ♥♥
- Smoked salmon Blini with dill cream and Granny Smith apples
The four savoury bites are heavenly, both tasty and original. I had not had the opportunity of sampling such savouries since my afternoon tea at the Raffles Istanbul a few months ago.
The Scones ★★★★★
The Raisins and Granny Smith Scones are wrapped in a napkin to retain their heat. They are very tasty but the texture is more evocative of a muffin than of a scone. This shouldn’t be an issue unless you’re an unbearable scone snob, as these scones can be split in half by hand without crumbling in many little pieces.
They are served with authentic clotted cream, three jams (Strawberry-vanilla, Apricot-almonds, Figs-raisins) and honey. Some jam mixtures may be clumsy but these are all excellent and perfectly suited for scones.
The Crillon Paris supplies its jam and honey from the “Confiture Parisienne” house. Their jams are so good that you may even forget that the Crillon jams are not homemade. I’m nitpicking here: in Paris, homemade jams are never served for afternoon tea and the clotted cream is sometimes omitted (another reason to love the Crillon!).
The Cakes & Sweets ★★★★★
The new pastry chef Pablo Gicquel designed five cakes that are on par with the savoury and the scones:
- Peruvian chocolate tartlet (with a hint of salt) ♥♥♥
- Marie-Antoinette’s “Chou d’Amour”: 100% vanilla Puff-pastry, french pastry cream and vanilla praline ♥♥
- Rocher marbré: chocolate & pistachio marble cake with orange peel ♥
- Crunchy tartlet with pineapple and coconut meringue
- Mont-blanc: chestnut cream and pear ♥
Each cake was so good that I find it really difficult to express a preference for one specific cake. Each pastry is one of a kind, even the rather simple chocolate tartlet.
The new pastry chef is undoubtedly the worthy successor of Jérôme Chaucesse. The Crillon has a new pastry chef ready to live up to the legend!
The Dukes’ Afternoon Tea ★★★★☆
No savouries or scones here, you’ll start with the cakes straight away. The Dukes’ afternoon tea is torture for those of you who hate to choose: two cakes are served and you’ll have to choose the last one from three different options, each as tempting as the other one… Let’s start with the two cakes which are served first:
La Fleur de Jasmin & Le Chou d’Amour ★★★★☆
The Dukes’ afternoon tea starts with the “Fleur de Jasmin”. This light cake is served alongside a mango-passionfruit-saffron shot, which you ought to drink first to prepare your palate.
- The Fleur de Jasmin: Jasmine tea-scented coconut wrapped in a crispy cheesecake topped with lemon caviar, filled with mango cream flavoured with ginger
- Marie-Antoinette’s Chou d’Amour: 100% vanilla Puff-pastry, french pastry cream and vanilla praline ♥♥
These cakes are light, subtle and just sweet enough. I am very keen on tea scented pastries but I love the “Chou d’Amour” the most (on the left on the second picture below).
The Chou d’Amour is named after Marie-Antoinette, who nicknamed her son “chou d’amour” (sweetheart). A similar version is served with the Lords’ afternoon tea so no risk of missing out, no matter which afternoon tea you go with.
L’Éclat, L’Hématite & Le Mont-Blanc ★★★★☆
Unfortunately, the Lords’ afternoon tea will require you to choose one cake out of three options. Hopefully, the description below will help you with that:
- L’Éclat: Hazelnut shortbread base, creamy chocolate, milk chocolate whipped cream and praline ♥
- L’Hématite: Chocolate cakes filled with caramel, topped with Streubel biscuits
These two cakes are already very sweet and chocolatey and they are even topped with a chocolate sauce… Even chocolate addicts and sweet tooths may have an overdose! If I had to choose between one or the other, I would go with L’Éclat as the Hématite is way too sweet, even for the sweet-tooth in me.
- Mont-Blanc: Almond shortbread base, chestnut cream, roasted comice pears and candied lemon ♥♥♥
In my opinion, the Mont-Blanc is the best of the three cakes. Both the Lords’ afternoon tea and the Dukes’ afternoon tea feature the Mont-Blanc but the Duke’s version is bigger and better.
You may also order one of these cakes separately if you can’t stomach all three, or on top of your afternoon tea if you wish to sample all five 😉
A la carte cake: 20€ a piece.
The Marquess Afternoon Tea ★★★★☆
Whether you’re vegan or simply not feeling hungry enough, the Marquess afternoon tea is your go-to choice, aside from à-la-carte options:
- Exotic Melba: pineapple, passion fruit, coconut sorbet and spicy lime emulsion
The ice cream itself is delicious but the value for money is nowhere as good as the other two afternoon teas. Consider yourself warned!
The Extras ★★★★★
The Crillon Paris afternoon tea is slightly different during the festive season and each afternoon tea comes with a delicious yule log cake:
- Yule log Crispy almond biscuit filled with blueberry and blackcurrant (served until January 6th 2019) ♥
Coup de Coeur: a cook goes around the Jard’in d’Hiver to offer freshly-baked complimentary Madeleines, a lovely habit borrowed from the Meurice. As an alternative to the Marquess afternoon tea, vegans and/or small appetites may order the Exotic Melba (second picture below).
A la carte cakes and sweets: 18-22€ a piece
Among the other novelties of 2018, the Pâtisserie Le Boudoir is the most remarkable. You may order various cakes and pastries, including those which are served at the afternoon tea. You will be able to take some of the Crillon’s masterpieces home.
NB: The fruit and chocolate entremets in the picture below must be ordered 48 hours in advance
If you want to take something home, allow me to recommend the almond-flavoured Gâteau Basque ♥ (first picture below).
The Service ★★★★★
The staff is as professional and friendly as they were back in 2017: everyone is knowledgeable about the hotel, the teas and the food.
Below a video of the Crillon Paris afternoon tea (in French) to stimulate your appetite:
Conclusion & Overall Mark ★★★★★♥
The Hôtel de Crillon Paris afternoon tea retains its position as the Parisian champion in the luxury segment. There are three options on offer, from the British afternoon tea to the French Goûter, as well as a vegan option. Pastry chef Pablo Gicquel has designed a perfect afternoon tea: the setting is grand, the tea selection is excellent and the food is tasty beyond compare.
Add the impeccable service and you get the best afternoon tea in Paris, specifically the Lords’ afternoon tea. A great deal of effort was put into the tea selection and personnel training. This is noticeable as the teas are brewed perfectly and the staff is also very knowledgeable about tea and proper pairings.
This level of excellence is unusual and so I am granting a “Golden Teapot” to the Hotel de Crillon Paris. This distinction is granted to exceptional afternoon teas, with a level of excellence in every single aspect of the Afternoon Tea experience. The Crillon is the second hotel to ever receive a Golden Teapot and joins the Mandarin Oriental London at the top of this website’s rankings, where the best afternoon teas in the world belong!
+: Gorgeous setting
+: Three afternoon teas to choose from
+: The tea selection by teamaster Lydia Gauthier
+: The Lords’ afternoon tea tasty food
+: The Dukes’ afternoon tea pastries
+: Perfect service
+: Excellent value for money
+: Probably the best afternoon tea in Paris
-: A tad less generous than in 2017
-: The Marquess afternoon tea frugality
The Crillon Paris Afternoon Tea has changed a lot since the July 2017 reopening. You may read the old article by clicking here:
Phone number: +33 1 44 71 15 25
Address: 10 Place de la Concorde, 75008 Paris