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Being Tyler Brûlé » Survey

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Survey: Best European Street Corner

"Seen in Antwerp /1"


After extensive research (consisting of some considerable loitering around Europe) our survey of the Best European Street Corner is complete. It has taken quite some time to finish, but patience is a virtue.

We first set off in Liguria, dashing down Via Garibaldi in Genoa. Lorenzo Bagnara was a charm, as always, but we felt as if the corner itself lacked the overall feeling of hospitality that we were expecting. Moving on. A swift Lufthansa Italia A320-flight later, and the warm tarmac of Lyon welcomed us. We went straight to Place Saint Paul, where a small, rustic, bakery had charmed us on the corner of Rue de la Lanterne. Perfectly connected with a convenient TCL tram stop just outside, surely this was it?

The charm of the childish interior mixed with the scent of freshly made flutes and Pain aux Raisins left us tempted to permanently move in at the Collège Hôtel further down the same street. Still, something was lacking. No cosy cinema. The metrics just didn’t add up this time.

Our quest went on. But this time we knew where we were heading – a mental image of a Flemish neighbourhood kept reoccurring in our minds. We boarded the TGV that brought us up state in a briskly fashion. As was expected, the corner was to be found in Antwerp. Kloosterstraat & Blarenstraat received us with open arms, with barista Rob Berghmans still remembering how short we prefer our ristretto to be.

In the end, the proximity of everything one could possibly ask of a street corner proved to be unbeatable. Brasserie Chez Fred for breakfast, a quick stop at Limonsoda to pick up a pair of shoes for our niece, or simply a relaxing muse through Erik Toonen Books. It’s simply all there.