The « Toy Train » running from Jalpaiguri to Darjeeling

I like taking things slowly. I appreciate anything that takes its time. So you won’t be surprised to hear that my favourite train is one of the slowest in the world, perhaps the last steam train in operation in India. It is nicknamed the Toy Train and it runs between Jalpaiguri and Darjeeling, a distance of 80 km which takes it… 8 hours! It needs all its puff to climb 2,088 metres.


Posted in Country : India by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , ,

Hisanori Masuda, teapot designer

Mon ami Hisanori Masuda

I’m happy to introduce to you my friend Hisanori Masuda. Hisanori is a famous Japanese designer who creates great models of cast iron teapots. He has exhibited worldwide (in New York’s MoMa for instance) and teaches at university in Japan. We have known each other for fifteen years thanks to Kayoko Nishikawa with whom I travelled a few times in the north of the archipelago, notably in the district of Iwate. It’s in fact the region where cast iron teapots are made. They are still casted one by one today. Hisanori has also made very nice models of tea kettles, with a simple, traditional and meticulous design. The Hikime, Chokaku and Natsume teapots illustrate his work perfectly.
We got together last week at the Ambiente fair in Frankfurt. Hisanori came to visit the Palais des Thés’ stand and I thus presented him to our team who was looking forward to meet him. This photo was taken for the occasion.


Posted in Country : Japan by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , ,

Tea plants around Mount Fuji

There are many tea plantations around this Japanese peak, but it’s not easy to find a spot where you can only see the tea garden with Mount Fuji in the background. You have to drive around the narrow back roads, keep turning round… It requires patience. And when you reach your goal, don’t expect solitude: the Japanese are keen photographers, and there is a real cult attached to their favourite volcano… There were at least a dozen Japanese around me when I took this photo.


Posted in Country : Japan by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , , ,

Rows of tea plants in Fuding

The purpose of my blog is to allow you to take part in my travels. I spend a large part of the year visiting tea plantations. The landscapes are often magnificent, the people I meet very welcoming. I’m learning more about tea all the time.
It is these landscapes, these people, this knowledge I’d like to share with you, if you wish. This blog makes a lot of sense to me: what’s the point in doing your dream job if you don’t share it?
I love this photo taken near Fuding, in Fujian province, China. I like the gentle movement of the rows of tea plants. And this beautiful house, so peaceful, buried in the greenery. I didn’t want to leave.


Posted in Country : China by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , ,

Looking after babies in tea plantations

On the tea plantations in India, there is a system for looking after the babies and infants. The babies are placed in hanging cribs while their mothers pluck the tea leaves in the fields. There is no roof, just a canopy. The mothers take turns to look after the little ones, rocking them while they sing lullabies. As you walk around the tea plantations you often hear their gentle singing.


Posted in Country : India, Tea plant by François-Xavier Delmas | Tags : , , ,

The author

François-Xavier Delmas is a passionate globetrotter. He’s been touring the world’s tea plantations for more than 20 years in search of the finest teas. As the founder of Le Palais des Thés, he believes that travelling is all about discovering world cultures. From Darjeeling to Shizuoka, from Taiwan to the Golden Triangle, he invites you to follow his trips as well as share his experiences and emotions.

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