La Mosquée Salon De Thé
39 rue Geoffroy Saint Hilaire, Paris
+33 (0)1 43 31 38 20, la-mosquee.com
The Pitch The Grande Mosquée (The Grand Mosque), founded in 1926, sits in the centre of the 5th arrondissement’s Algerian-Muslim neighbourhood, and though bustling, is an oasis in the middle of Paris. Its gorgeous green-and-white tiled minaret is its most-noticeable feature, leading you right to the entrance of the building, home to a restaurant, spa, gift shop and the Salon De Thé. Enter the tea house (around the corner from the main mosque entrance) and you’re transported to a lively Middle Eastern-style setting. Charming blue mosaic tiles top patio tables, while cedar arches, comfy banquets and dining tables fill the interior. Communal seating is encouraged throughout, and it’s easy to meet new friends here if you’re travelling alone. Try to avoid going on a weekend: It’s jammed with tourists and Parisians looking to escape their usual haunts in the Marais for some authentic “bobo-” or bohemian-chic hospitality and pampering. Turkish baths beckon just past the takeout register, for post-tea relaxation where you can wind down in warm and hot rooms and receive Hammam-style massage and exfoliation treatments (10 minutes for €10; 20 minutes for €20, 30 minutes for €30).
What We Love The endless and ever-replenished trays of hot peppermint tea served by friendly staff; they make the grand space feel cozy despite the masses that pour in and out of it. They also help you pick desserts that appeal to your particular tastes. Whether it’s baklava or Turkish Delight, tea or no tea (although they’ll be asking you if you want more tea, of course and you will say yes), they set you up with whatever your palate prefers, pas de problème. After two or three pours served in ornate, gilded short tea cups, accompanied by sweet North-African pastries and smoky mint shisha, the sugar high will express itself as sublime relaxation. When visiting, avoid the high-traffic front patio section if possible — the back terrace is truly special and where you want to be (forever).
Don’t Miss A tour of the actual Grand Mosque. It’s easy to get caught up in the tea room, but be sure to walk off the indulgent desserts by heading around the corner to the mosque’s grand entrance where you’ll be immediately welcomed — no, seduced — by a beautiful garden and courtyard.
Tea €2; shisha €10 (served outside only)