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We challenge anyone to think of Paris without a sigh. Even for those who have never visited it and seen it only in photos, the ville lumiére is a magnificent and fascinating place. How many novels, how many books have been set in its boardwalks along the Seine and boulevards? And how many other stories have populated images, characters from all of France, from Brittany to Provence?
We Italians have a strange relationship with France. The same strange kind of love that two rivals feel in a friendly race. But the question is not about which of the two countries is better, whether Italy or France, but about how to recognize that our two nations play on equal terms: we both have art, we both have gastronomy, we are both educated to beauty and pleasure.
It’s no coincidence, then, that most of us fall in love immediately with the French atmosphere, the inimitable feeling that emanates from everything that comes from the other side of the Alps, especially when it comes to food. In Milan, meltin ‘pot of the world gastronomy, the French mood couldn’t lack and there are many places, including restaurants, bistros and pastry shops, to have captured a scent of that wonderful country. Here are the five that we prefer.
Via San Fermo, 1
The Provençal inspiration of the Tibi feels strong already starting from its name. But to understand how far deep this love for Provence goes, just browse the menu. From a strictly alcoholic point of view, the Tibi is a temple of gin, which is offered in over two hundred different labels and in the list of monthly cocktails, that changes continuously. But you just have to turn the page to find yourself in front of a treasure of champagne and crémant, of Alsatian wines and specialties such as croque monsieur, crêpes, foie gras or the quiches of the day. The best moment is the happy hour, when the gin bar and the provencal niche create a single, unforgettable experience.
Patisserie des Rêves
Corso Magenta, 7
More than a French inspiration, that of the Patisserie des Rêves is a French soul. The founders of this chain of boutiques of sweet, Philippe Conticini and Thierry Teyssier, wanted all their stores (five in France, four of which in Paris, one in Tokyo and another in Abu Dhabi, in addition to this Italian address) to evoke in their customers childhood memories, dreams of the years gone by. And it’s hard not to dream in front of the imposing display of sweets that is behind the cloches of the shop: the madeleines first of all, but also the pain au chocolat, the tarte tatin, the Paris-Brest, the Saint Honoré, macarons and éclairs.
Via Giulio Cesare Procaccini, 69
A restaurant that looks to the Breton tradition and offers salads and gallettes de sarasin. The gallettes are buckwheat puffs that are stuffed with the most disparate ingredients. The ones you find in the menu are about thirty, but there is also the possibility to compose yours with ingredients of your choice. To complete the proposal there are also the crêpes sucrées and the typical cakes of the day. To make everything even better, read the wine list, divided between reds, whites and rosés, all strictly from beyond the Alps, and also includes cider and beers.
La Creperie d’Auriane
Via Correggio, 50
First entirely French creperie in Milan, this small, adorable little place is very popular in Milan. And, looking at the menu, you’ll immediately understand why. Highly selected ingredients, either French or from small Italian producers, and a delicious menu, with many traditional specialties from beyond the Alps and a gourmet corner with French products with biscuits, jams and many other traditional flavors.
Piazza Wagner, 3
A Provencal style coffee perfect to escape the worries and the rushes of city life. Fantastic at breakfast, with croissants, pain au chocolat, cakes, artisanal jams and brioches to go with coffee. Also perfect for an undemanding lunch break based on salads, stuffed baguettes and unique dishes. And even better for an aperitif with a wide range of croutons, tartares or fantastic croques. And, as if that was not enough, every Sunday, starting from twelve, there’s a simple but rich brunch, French from top to bottom.