A taste of Paris in Brooklyn's Little France - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

A taste of Paris in Brooklyn's Little France

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Jean-Jacques Bernat opened Provence en Boite, a French patisserie, on Smith Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, in an area that's become known as little France. His place is filled with delectable French treats, like pain au chocolat and brioche French toast.

The best-seller is the croissant. Bernat says he has had the same secret recipe for over 40 years.

"I never change the recipe," he says. "I add of course more butter, that's it. More butter. Cook the croissant to perfection, we try every day."

French government officials estimate that over 20,000 French residents live in Brooklyn, many of them in Carroll Gardens. In fact the local elementary school, P.S. 58, even has a French dual-language program for students.

Apostolos Valleras is the general manager at Bar Tabac, also on Smith Street. The menu caters to a French crowd.

"You walk around every three, four people you'll hear French being spoken," he says. "The classic moule frite with white wine sauce or tomato sauce. This is one thing people go crazy about."

And wash it all down with some French wine. "80 percent of our wine list is French wines. We try to give something from every region in France. Bordeaux, southern France, burgundy."

Just around the corner is the invisible dog, a 30,000 square foot art center.

"We are presenting exhibitions, but also performances, dance, music, theater," says Lucien Zayan, the founder and director of the Invisible Dog. The former opera producer from Paris was on vacation in Brooklyn a few years ago when he first spotted the building. "I literally fell in love with it and I met the owner and asked if we can turn this building into an art center. And what was my surprise when he said yes!"

From the art to the food, Smith Street and the surrounding neighborhood has become a taste of Paris in Brooklyn.

Even the babies are speaking the language.

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