If New York has Chinatown and Little Italy, then Istanbul has “French Street” (Fransiz Sokagi). “Rue Francaise”, with tented buildings, street musicians, cafés, bars and art centers, opened in summer of 2004 in Beyoglu district.
The street behind Galatasaray High School,in Galatasaray Square, known as Cezayir (Algeria) Street was completely renovated from head to toe by a group lead by Mehmet Tasdiken within the scope of a two-year project. The buildings and sidewalks were improved and a special music system was established. Tasdiken had close contacts with the Municipality of Paris, so the stones of the street were arranged by Parisian architects, and 100-year-old coal-gas street lamps from the Municipality of Paris were installed.Fransiz Sokagi(French Street)Mehmet Tasdiken says “the French have a very important legacy in Beyoglu. Most of the establishments of Beyoglu, such as the first cafés and first movie theaters, were established by the French in the 19th century and the buildings on the left of Cezayir Street bear the signature of French engineer-contractor Marius Michel, who lived in Istanbul between 1890 and 1910 and built the Karakoy and Eminonu docks.”
Fransiz Sokagi has a covered area of 9,000 square meters and a capacity of 3000 people together with the open-air areas. The number of daily visitors is around 6.500. The heaters on the streets allow the open areas to be used even on cold days.Fransiz Sokagi(French Street)Various establishments in two-three story buildings have turned Fransiz Sokagi, formerly Cezayir Sokak or Hayriye Cikmazi, into a 7-day-a-week live culture and entertainment center, with cafés, restaurants, street concerts and artists, and an art gallery.