Mariage Freres: La Maison du The a Paris, possibly one of the most well known high end tea merchants has its roots when brothers Nicholas and Pierre Mariage first started travelling the trade routes in the 1600s on behalf of the French East India Company to source spices and other exotic products and later specifically for tea.
Tea took on an importance in France when in the 166o King Louis XIV was advised by his doctors that tea would aid his digestion and prevent gout. Tea then became drink of choice in all Parisien aristocratic circles. Several generations of the Mariage family, continuing in the tea tradition, then launched a retail business in 1843, by then reflecting their deep and superior knowledge of this timeless beverage.
Scouring the world for exotic teas first from Persia, China, Ceylon and Madagascar, and later from the ‘newer’ world the Mariage family of tea merchant has brought home to the delight of the aristocratic elite of Paris a wonderful array of oriental teas. Today it offers over 500 tea varieties from over 30 countries.
It is a rare event to walk out of a Marage Frere shop without having bought something.
While the English claim to have an equally early tea heritage, they continue to enjoy the mass produced PG Tips and Liptons teabags, while Mariage Freres has transformed tea drinking experience into an elegant and fashionable event like only the French know how.