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Highlight of our (very brief) trip to Paris? That would be the cup of tea in Mariage Freres’ tea salon, tucked away in a rather unprepossessing corner of the Carousel Galleries under the Louvre. Forget the glories of the Impressionist gallery across the road at the Musee d’Orsay, forget the pale colours of winter sunshine washing the face of Notre Dame, forget the slap-up “steak and frites” dinner later on that day. The happiest moment of the trip was, weary and footsore from sightseeing and shopping, clutching our flotsam of little packages and bags, we stumbled into the tea salon, to have one of the most refreshing cups of tea, hot, steaming, scented and gently smokey. Ah tea! Here is a snapshot of the mouthwatering blueberry and blackcurrent tart that went with it. I neglected to photograph the very handsome, very attentive waiter who was also a vital part of this experience.

And now we are home again, dispensing gifts to all and sundry, and with plenty of photos and memories to mull over. Did I feel a sense of relief in returning to my kitchen, and driving the men out of it again? I must confess, dear reader, that nice though it may be to eat in restaurants for a few days, I am glad to be back.

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