The Story of Ladurée
The history of Parisian tea rooms is intimately tied to the history of the Ladurée family. It all began in 1862, when Louis Ernest Ladurée, a man from France’s southwest, created a bakery in Paris at 16 rue Royale.
The same year, the first stone of the Garnier Opera House was laid, and the area surrounding the Madeleine was rapidly developing into one of the capital’s most important and elegant business districts. The most prestigious names in French luxury items had already taken up residence in this neighbourhood.
Under the Second Empire, cafés developed and became more and more luxurious. They attracted Parisian high society. Along with the chic restaurants around the Madeleine, they became the showcases of the capital. Women were also changing. They wanted to make new acquaintances, but literary salons and literature circles were outmoded.
Louis Ernest Ladurée’s wife, Jeanne Souchard, had the idea of mixing styles: The Parisian café and pastry shop gave birth to one of the first tea rooms in town. The ”salon de thé” had a definite advantage over the cafés: women could gather in complete freedom.