Thursday, May 12, 2005


A few weeks ago a friend wrote and asked for a favor. Apparently, her friend had been to Paris years ago and remembered fondly a trip to Angelina's. My friend asked if I could go to Angelina's and buy the namesake tea set as a present for her friend.

I've been waiting for the right day to visit the venerable tea salon, but it never arrived. My husband will soon be taking a trip to D.C. and I figured that I better get this task off my list soon so he can mail the tea set to our friend while he is in the US. So yesterday after I dropped the kids off at school in the morning I took the metro to the Tuileries. Angelina's, located on rue de Rivoli, is a quick walk from there.

Although every tourist I've ever spoken to has heard of Angelina's, it doesn't seem to be as well known to the French. Perhaps that is because it is listed in so many tour guides and websites and it's close to some of the most fashionable hotels in Paris.

Please follow me in....

When I arrive in Angelina's and ask to be seated the first thing I notice is that I am the only one there. It's 9:30am. Of course, I take a couple of quick pictures while no one is around. Although I was in Angelina's on a mission: buy a tea set, I thought I'd sit down and finally try Angelina's famous chocolate chaud -- African Hot Chocolate -- actual melted chocolate bars. (FYI... they are also know for their Mont Blanc dessert, but I don't like meringue and didn't try it.)

I guess Angelina's has been going through a renovation and the day I was there was the first day they were using new menus. Here is one breakfast option from the new menu, in case you are interested. I didn't order the "menu" because it sounded like more food than I wanted.

Getting back to the hot chocolate.... I've often prided myself that there is nothing too chocolatey for my taste buds. This theory has been tested many times over the years. I was matched yesterday. Angelina's African Hot Chocolate was thick and rich and chocolatey (but much better than Quik.. if you remember the slogan). To give you a sense of what to expect, the waitress brought the hot chocolate with a pitcher of water. That never happens in France -- you always have to ask for water, it is never automatically brought to a table. To give you a sense that the place caters to tourists, and specifically American tourists, she also brought a glass with ice! Additionally, they serve the hot chocolate with bowl of whipped cream. I'm not a big whipped cream fan, but let me tell you, I would not have been able to drink the hot chocolate without the whipped cream. It really cuts down the sweetness and thickness of the melted chocolate. Here is a picture of my petit dejeuner. I also ordered a "toasts" (toasted brioche).

As I said, I was defeated by Angelina's. I couldn't finish the little pitcher of hot chocolate (2 cups). It was an experience, but one I'm not likely to repeat. It was just too much for me. My hot chocolate and toast cost less than 9 euro. If you think you can handle the chocolate, try Angelina's. Then, let me know what you think.

Before I left, I did accomplish my mission... I bought the Angelina tea set for two. It cost 130 euro!

-- said Auntie M in Paris
8:49 PM



Sorry to be such a grump, but I hate that place. I've just been too many times and seen too many ugly Americans there... I'll bite my tongue instead of saying more.

# posted by Anonymous : 9:40 PM  

Kate, I actually felt a bit ill from the chocolate overload. I don't plan on going back either!

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 9:42 PM  

I'm sure that would be too much chocolate for me! I would rather pass the "touristy" places and experience a place the locals love.

# posted by Christine : 9:48 PM  

That's certainly not Swiss Miss!

That looks incredibly rich! No wonder you felt a bit ill. Sugar overload!

Now they call Quik Nesquik here. That was always the name abroad, but Nestlé must have decided to internationalize it and change the name to match everywhere else.

So now instead of the little Q around his neck the bunny has an N.

# posted by Joe : 10:06 PM  

I've always wanted to go into Angelina's, but every time I walked by there, it was packed with people. Maybe I should try going at 9:30!

# posted by Oz : 10:16 PM  

I'm drooling and green with envy. Paris is too great - hot chocolate served in a miniature pitcher? A whole bowl of whipped cream? It may cater to Americans - but it still has that Parisian flair!

# posted by Stay-At-Home-Mom : 10:59 PM  

I agree Auntie M. I didn't like Angelina's either. It was wwwwwwway too rich----and I am a huge chocolate fan too. I had to ask for more water when we were there.

# posted by Anonymous : 2:41 AM  

I haven't been to Anfelina's but I used to go to a place in Lausanne, Switzerland where the chocolate chaud was so thick that if you let it cool down just a little, you could stand your spoon up in it.

And it was WONDERFUL.

# posted by Sammy : 9:21 AM  

You make such great sacrifices to make your journal interesting! I remember when we went to a resterant in Calais we were given side plates, never seen in France; I hate it when they try to please the tourists.

# posted by Anji : 11:30 AM  

Thank you thank you thank you for the photos and recap-- you bring Paris into my life and I am SO appreciative!!!!!!!

P.S. I could eat that bowl of whipped cream straight up-- *sigh*


# posted by Anonymous : 2:31 PM  

Hi Auntie !

Although every tourist I've ever spoken to has heard of Angelina's, it doesn't seem to be as well known to the French. Perhaps that is because it is listed in so many tour guides and websites and it's close to some of the most fashionable hotels in Paris.

It's for tourists, not real French people. (smile)

Before I left, I did accomplish my mission... I bought the Angelina tea set for two. It cost 130 euro!

For that kind of money, at any decently large village flea-market (a vide-greniers, not a salon des antiquaires or a brocante) on a good day, in the early morning, you can find a very nice almost-complete, genuine service (i.e., 8 or 10 settings and not 12, with pot, creamer, sugarbowl, cups, and saucers) from, say, Sarreguemines, or even a Moulin des Loups set. Negotiation in fluent French is necessary, of course.


# posted by L'Amerloque : 10:42 AM  

Christine, I agree. Although sometimes the touristy things are fun... especially when there aren't many tourists around.
Joe, I tried to find some info about the Quik and it was difficult because of the name change!
Oz, It was so weird because I expected a lot of people there too.
SAHM, It does have a Parisian touch and is certainly in a good location.
CMAC, The chocolate was good, but too much. I wonder what cocoa percentage they use because it was surprisingly sweet for the dark look.
Sammy, You could stand your spoon in the hot chocolate when it cooled off? I think that might be a turn off for me, but who knows?
Anji, I'm sure this place does a great business from the tourists. Although I was surprised that out of the 5 tables who were there when I left only the table of two Frenchwomen ordered the "menu."
BP, When are you coming back for a visit?
L'A, I thought it was outrageously priced for a tea set, but hopefully I'm getting reimbursed. I haven't been to a antique market in years. It's on my list of things to do.

# posted by Auntie M in Paris : 11:19 AM  

Angelina's is certainly an institution. The tea service you bought for 130 Euros is expensive, but worth is reletive. The chocolate there is first rate... the Mont Blanc is pretty sweet and I for one don't know why they have sugar on the tables, unless it's for coffee. But I'll say this... Paris is Paris and Angelina's is a unique part of the scene. Enjoy it for what it is and if you want a cup from the place, bring a large bag. If anyone can tell me where I can get a better cup of hot cocoa, please let me know!

# posted by Marc Davis -- Amsterdam/Columbus : 5:10 PM  

i love angelinas, have not tried the chocolate yet, but i love their salads and the beautiful timeless beauty, highly recommend it to everyone....

# posted by darlene from Canada : 7:42 PM  

I was in Paris in May. Angelinas had been recommended by a friend. However, you have to get there before 7 p.m. I finally made it the day before I left and it was wonderful. I can't eat alot of chocolate but I was getting some for friends and family. I ended up having dinner and the Salmon was great. I watched others enjoying their hot chocolate and it is hard to describe what you see! YUMMY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

# posted by Anonymous : 8:04 PM  

Angelina's hot chocolate was to die for. We stopped there for a light lunch and at the next table they were enjoying a delectible-looking concoction. "We'll have what they are having," I told our waiter, pointing impolitely to the couple so into their dessert.

When it came, we couldn't believe the taste. It was truly death by chocolate. We agreed--nothing we ever had in chocolate compared to that hot, thick, bitterweet chocolate drink, perfectly sweeted with a dreamy whipped cream. Unfortunately, it was our last day in Paris, but we'll be back, if only to pig out on Angelina's hot chocolate.

# posted by Carl : 2:22 AM  

Angelinas was great we got there around 1030am. The staff was great and very friendly. The chocolate was great, not bitter at all, no chocolate overload here. We bought 3 bags of the mix to make here at home. Next time were in Paris we will be going back. Lorenzo

# posted by Anonymous : 8:41 AM  

...aah, paris! a visit to the city of lights would not be complete without a stop at Angelina Salon de The. even if you are not a choco-holic, who cares? look out to the left, the Louvre...to the right...the Eiffel Tower! enjoy, everyone!

# posted by mimi : 12:50 AM  

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