Monday, September 14, 2009

Autumn tea

Le rituel du thé, cette reconduction précise des mêmes gestes et de la même dégustation, cette accession à des sensations simples, authentiques et raffinées, cette licence donnée à chacun, à peu de frais, de devenir un aristocrate du goût parce que le thé est la boisson des riches comme elle est celle des pauvres, le rituel du thé, donc, a cette vertu extraordinaire d'introduire dans l'absurdité de nos vies une brèche de harmonie sereine. Oui, l'univers conspire à la vacuité, les âmes perdues pleurent la beauté, insignifiance nous encercle. Alors, buvons une tasse de thé. Le silence se fait, on entend le vent qui souffle dehors, les feuilles d'automne bruissent et s'envolent, le chat dort dans une chaude lumière. Et, dans chaque gorgée, se sublime le temps.

The tea ritual, this precise renewal of the same gestures and of the same savoring, this accession to simple sensations, authentic and refined which grants a pass to each of us at little cost to become an aristocrate of taste. Because tea is the drink of the rich just as it is of the poor, and thus the tea ritual has the extraordinary virtue of inserting a breach of serene harmony into the absurdity of our lives. Yes, the universe conspires to vacuity, lost souls morn beauty, insignifiance surrounds us. So, let us drink a cup of tea. Silence comes upon us, we hear the wind blow outside, Autumn leaves rustle and fly away. The cat sleeps in a warm ray of light. And in each sip, time is exalted.

L'élégance du hérisson/The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel BARBERY

The beauty and the rigor of a Japanese school of tea where each gesture of the tea ceremony is part of a meditation.

This has long been one of my favorite paintings of an interior. Isn't it inviting with the tea tray
just barely perceptible on the left? It was painted in 1898 by Thomas Matthews Rooke,
assistant to Burne-Jones.

En prenant le thé by David Emil Joseph de Voter 1825

Thé by Gérard AuburganWhy is tea often associated with melancholy or pensive states?
Silence comes upon us, we hear the wind blow outside...

A book to explore: a French-English bilingual guide of some nice places to explore for tea time.
Salons de thé are more worldly but they are still places where
you take time to savor your steaming cup.


  1. It would seem the onset of autumn inspires thoughts of ritual. The imagery is wonderful and it is curiously interesting to note the "melancholy" and "pensive states" normally associated with tea.

    I always find it to be contemplative and calming.

  2. We stopped for tea time everyday while in Paris -it was a time to relax and reflect. So important to take the time to do!

  3. It must be the seasonal change that makes us want to find comfort in our own homes or about.

    AD -I think I did notice some Mariage Frères bags in your photos!

  4. What a beautiful and thought-provoking post about a ritual we commonly partake in without thinking!

  5. Delightful!

    Maybe have a look here. Some of the better tea I have encountered:

  6. Linnea: Nice to find you here! I've just been in near desperate tea situation this afternoon. No more Mariage Frères or Palais des thés and the other too bergamote-y to be shared. We settled on a japanese Sencha This is a welcome link!

  7. Try their Bournonville mix? Light and flowery, but still with substance. I know the ones you mention, the Danish shop is different, but very good. Happy 2012!

  8. Thank you, Linnea. I like that the tea you recommend is named after a ballet master. The Danish site is very good. I also think you would like the book my quote comes from - have you read it?