Pastry Aplenty in Paris, But Where’s My Tea?

Who do I have to @#$% to get a decent-sized cup of tea in this town? Hell, I’ll settle for some hot water because I have my own teabags.

I’ll admit to being a tea snob, primarily because I can’t drink coffee anymore and need my caffeine. Too many mornings drinking a half-pot of coffee followed by a Coke at work and an extra-strong cup of coffee with the wire editor after the first edition messed up my stomach at some point. Fortunately I met Marilynn just in time to discover the joys of Irish tea.

At least in Ireland and England, I know my tea needs will be met. In Berlin, we stayed in a hotel with free breakfast and two coffee machines with hot water. It was heaven. In Amsterdam, there was a kettle and decent-sized cups. In Antwerp there was a kettle and teensy cups in the room. We were too cheap to buy hotel breakfast, so off to McDonald’s we went. A smallish cup of tea was nearly two euro, and they wanted another two euro for hot water in the cup I just bought.

So I was hopeful that Paris would be better, but I was wrong. The hotel had no tea-making facilities, only a machine in the lobby that spit out four ounces of water in a flimsy, disposable cup for a euro. Patisseries, while fantastic for croissants, breads and other baked goodies, were crap for tea. The first one we visited served no hot drinks. The second served coffee, but no tea.

The second morning, we took our wee hotel cups to the second patisserie and asked for hot water. They wanted to microwave them. I didn’t know the French word best describing the molten, watery mess zapping those cups would leave in their microwave, so we gave up.

Even where tea was offered, it was outrageously expensive for what it is—hot water and a teabag. I can buy my beloved Barry’s tea direct from Ireland and have it shipped to the US for 10 cents a bag. I’m not gonna pay three euro for a cup of tea. Until I really want it, like when enjoying second pastry breakfast while waiting for Sainte-Chappell to open. And at Starbucks at the train station. That one was actually four euro, but it was tanker-sized and required two teabags to fill it.

I’m not sure what awaits in Prague, but that honkin’ big Starbucks cup made the two-train, one bus, 11-hour journey from Paris. And I’ve got plenty of teabags to go with it.