I love strolling around the Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill and Boerum Hill neighborhoods of Brooklyn, New York. There are many beautiful brownstone homes from the 1800's along the side streets to admire. Lately, I've been seeing many bicycles and Vespa scooters being used as transportation by the local residents, giving the area a European flavor.
Many of these neighborhoods have seen a strong French immigration since the late 1990's. "About 3,000 French families have settled in the Carroll Gardens-Gowanus-Park Slope area of Brooklyn in the last 10 years," said Fabrice Jaumont, the education attache at the French Embassy to the Wall Street Journal. Much of this is due to the recent French/English dual-language programs in the local public schools. One of the nice aspects of the surge of French immigrants living in this area is the upswing of French bistros, bars and patisseries in the area, especially on Smith Street in Brooklyn, New York.
Cafe LULUc located at 214 Smith Street, near Butler Street is one such establishment.
It is a charming little bistro and has the soul of a diner with red leather booths, painted-tin ceiling, a large rear-wall mirror, water carafes, and magazine racks. Most importantly, their prices are moderate and their food is good!
Provence en Boite, located at 263 Smith Street, is a cozy patisserie and bistro.
The owner and chef, Jean-Jacques Bernat, states on his web site that his bistro offers home made croissants, coffee and espresso, artisan breads, fine home made pastries as well as lunch and dinner prepared in the traditional manner of the French country household, using simple, fresh ingredients specially chosen to enhance each meal.
Bar Tabac, located at 126 Smith Street and Dean Street, is a French styled bar and bistro. It will also be one of the hosts for the 8th annual Bastille Day celebration held in Brooklyn, beginning Sunday, July 10, 2011. Bastille Day, is the French national holiday that celebrates independence and freedom. It commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison on July 14, 1789. There will be two live bands, drinks by Ricard, French food, and a guillotine. Smith Street, between Bergan and Pacific, will be closed for traffic on Sunday and transformed into sandy petanque courts. The Pétanque Tournament is the largest in North America. Players from all over the country will form 80 teams and compete in the tournament.
If you'd like to see how the Bastille Festival is celebrated in both Brooklyn and Manhattan you can watch this short promotional video by Ricard:
There is certainly quite a bit of "joie de vivre" to enjoy in Brooklyn, if you know where to look!
I'm linking this post to Mary's "Mosaic Monday" event of her blog Little Red House, the Mellow Yellow Monday, "Ruby Tuesday" event on the blog Work of the Poet and the"'Rednesday" event on Sue's blog It's a Very Cherry World. Please visit all these wonderful blogs and join in all the fun!