If you are passing through, you should not miss the famous French Street renamed Algerian Street in Istanbul (its original name). The street is located on the European bank, very close to the main street Istiklal, between Galatasaray high school and Cihangir district.
On the first place, what might have seemed like an absurd idea to turn a local street into a typical French Street in Istanbul turned out to be an original and appreciated idea.
This Algerian Street in Istanbul has been restored thanks to the approach of Mr. Mehmet Tasdiken, Turkish writer, francophile, who took inspiration from the 19th century.
How to get the Algerian Street in Istanbul ?
All the buildings on this street, which is actually a succession of steps leading to a dead end, connecting the Tophane district at the other end, were built by a French developer and turcophile by the name of Marius Michel, originally from the city of Nice, in the south of France.
He was an unconditional lover of the Bosphorus, he also built many buildings, inspired by Ottoman houses in his country of origin. The realization among others of 120 sea lighthouses for the Ottomans earned him the title of “Marius Michel Pacha”.
Each building has been given the name of a Frenchman who lived in Turkey, for example the first western ambassador by the name of Jean de la Forêt or the famous Pierre Loti. We can also name the first travel book writer Joseph Grelat or the former mayor of the Beyoglu district Edouard de Logue, as well as the painter Albert Mille, or the poet Gerard de Nerval, etc.
At the opening of the Algerian Street in Istanbul on July 1st, 2004 on area that spanned over 9000m², the restaurants and cafes Le Régal, Absinthe, Rendez-Vous, Café Chantant, Pigeon, Coup de Foudre offered previously typical French specialties. However, it was not successful and now the French cuisine has been replaced by local Turkish food. Despite everything, it is still possible to find some French dishes.
In a setting inspired by the French style, the typical Parisian centenary lamps have been sent by the Paris City Hall as a gift. On the many terraces that this street offers, local and tourist customers can come to sip a black tea. There is a capacity of 3,000 people.
Following successive political setbacks such as the recognition of the Armenian genocide that was voted by the French Parliament in 2006, the street was renamed Algerian Street. This alludes to the war between the French and the Algerians.
Whatever the name is, French or Algerian street, it is a place that is worth visiting and that you must discover during your stay in Istanbul.