The French have a saying:
“Impossible n’est pas français,” (or, “impossible isn’t French”).
And while some (all) sources suggest that it originated with Napoleon, it could just have easily been said to anyone who thought that creating a little slice of Paris – replete with regal Versailles-style furnishings, pastel porcelain teapots and world-renowned patisserie – in an unsuspecting nook of Covent Garden Market… was impossible.
For Ladurée – possibly the most famous macaron bakers on the planet – has pitched up in a labyrinthine corner of the old 19th century market building. On the ground floor is a small shop, but ascend the staircase and you’ll happen upon a warren of tiny, welcoming tearooms opening out onto a small balcony overlooking the market. In the summer, they also commandeer a large patch of the cobbled piazza for al fresco seating under shady mint green umbrellas.
While Ladurée also has a lavish tearoom in Harrods and a Burlington Arcade shop (entirely covered in gold leaf), the Covent Garden tearooms have not just the most seating, but also the most unique atmosphere. The decor is a little tired in places, but it all adds to the romantic feel of faded grandeur – pastel walls, chandeliers and gilded rococo furnishings make the place feel like the long-lost attic of Marie Antoinette.
Fittingly, they will let you eat cake – and lots of it. All manner of patisserie is on offer, from dainty slices of cake (chocolate gâteau, lemon meringue pie, religieuse towers of choux buns and tarts) to Ladurée’s iconic macarons, available in a rainbow of colours and flavours. There’s savoury lunch dishes on offer, too, as well as a generous afternoon tea served on an elegant tiered stand.
And to anyone who says it’s not possible to order that and find room for an extra macaron or two…
…impossible n’est pas anglais, either.
NOTE: Ladurée Covent Garden is open daily, 10am-11pm (takeaway from 9am). You can find out more HERE.
Ladurée Covent Garden | 1 The Market Building, WC2E 8RA
Like cake? Take a tour of London’s best afternoon tea
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