French tea house Ladurée has created limited edition gift boxes emblazoned with Leonardo da Vinci’s portrait of a lady, “La Belle Ferronnière,” to coincide with the opening of the most important exhibit of the year in Paris.
The “Leonardo da Vinci” exhibit opened October 24 at the Louvre as part of a year-long observance of the 500th anniversary of the Italian Renaissance master’s death. The show, 10 years in the making, features 162 works including paintings and drawings on loan from museums around the world.
Ladurée, which has a tea salon location inside the Louvre’s underground shopping center Carrousel du Louvre, has created the special box sets that can hold up to eight macarons for the exhibit.
The da Vinci packaging launched October 24 at the Carrousel du Louvre location and is becoming available at Ladurée boutiques in Paris, including Paris airports, November 7.
A history that dates back to 1862
Before Ladurée there was nothing. Maybe not as dramatic as that sounds, but one cannot overlook the fact that, the story behind Parisian tea rooms, it all began with the Ladurée family. Everything was set in motion 1862, when a humble man from France’s southwest, created a bakery on the now prestigious address, 16 rue Royale. Years later, due to a fire, Louis had the possibility to transform his bakery into a pastry shop. He hired a famous painter, Jules Cheret, to do the decoration of the pastry shop. Jules was known to take inspiration from the painting techniques used for the celling of the Sistine Chapel and the Opera Garnier. A technique that he brought with him — he decorated the pastry shop celling’s with chubby cherubs, known as the Pastry Angel. Something that will later inspire the tea house’s graphic identity, one that we recognise quite well today.
Under the Second Empire, the coffee drinking culture developed and became more and more luxurious. And everybody who was somebody drank this hot cup of brew that made the Parisian society run. Together with the chic restaurants at Madeleine, they became the most prestigious meeting places in Paris.
And it was this that brought Louis’ wife, Jeanne Souchard, to come up with the idea of mixing the two worlds together: Parisian coffee and pastry, and voilà, she created one of the first tea houses in the capital. One that we today know as Ladurée.