I had the great opportunity to attend the Coaturier in Martina Franca in Puglia (“the heel of the boot”), Italy. My wonderful friends at Rossorame, who are responsible for the beautiful HER bag, invited me to attend a three-day conference on the fashion of Puglia - the history and the future. Many don’t know this, but this area of Italy, has a rich and storied history of fashion creation.
The several high-quality brands I was introduced to at the event all base their value system on quality and sustainability. Their commitment to TRUE “Made In Italy” manufacturing is impressive and uncompromising. The entire community supported this event including many local businesses that do not deal in fashion but support the efforts to help preserve the culture around Pugliese Moda.
The area of Martina Franca is known as Val d’Itria, and it is full of vineyards and olive groves as well as the famous Trulli houses that dot the countryside. This area is truly stunning. In addition to visiting some of the ateliers of the brands represented, we were able to also visit the wonderful Alberobello - a charming, old Trulli community. It is a must if you visit the area.
The event culminated in a fabulous fashion show presented by the designers of the area in the beautiful 17th century Palazzo Ducale. Afterwards we enjoyed an amazing 4-course meal that lasted hours and hours into the night. I looked around the room and realized, in addition to the lovely Italians, we were a group from all over the world. My table alone had attendees from Israel, Russia, Japan and me, from the USA. The wine flowed, the food was beyond delicious, and we all left with new friends.
After Coaturier, I was off to Paris for “work”. Walking the streets of that magical city again was overwhelming. I am always amazed by so many beautiful buildings, the Seine, the well appointed gardens, the chic shops and cafes. After the uncertainty and anxiety of Covid it was so nice to see… Paris is OPEN. It was so great to see people living their lives again. The streets were bustling, folks were shopping and commuting, the restaurants were full. In between meetings, I ate delicious meals, visited a few museums and walked for miles. My new friend, Nathalie, who owns an awesome handbag line that will make its debut in the US on Lesetta.com in the Spring, explained that when they were “locked down” that they were unable to walk more than a few meters from their homes. Now, with the EU Green Pass, life is returning to normal and no one is taking it for granted.
Lesetta Guide to Puglia, Italy and Paris, France:
Although I visited these places in one trip, my assumption is that most travelers will not. They are very different experiences, but both equally exciting.
Martina Franca, Puglia:
This is only one gorgeous part of Puglia. So keep in mind, this is just a taste of what there is to do in the area.
Alberobello - a UNESCO World Heritage site, this charming town has a great concentration of the famous Trulli stone-roof domed houses in the Pugliese countryside. We love walking through the Trulli village and then having a delicious aperitivo in the surrounding city.
Martina Franca City Center - This is a lovely Italian town. Taking a walk around the city and visiting the Palazzo Ducale as well as the Opera Costumes exhibit at the Music Conservatory makes for a great afternoon.
Panzerotti - Don’t miss eating this typical fried pizza of the area while in Martina. I must admit, I was skeptical, but it is delicious and lighter than you might think. The bar across from the Palazzo Ducale has the best ones!
L’Acropoli di Puglia - There is a great tour at this Olive Oil producer. The fourth Generation family-run company makes the most delicious olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar and oil based body products. Many don’t know that Puglia has a huge concentration of olive groves. This is just one producer, and there are many. But this is my favorite.
Nuasikaa Ristorante Vineria - I love this restaurant. The food is sophisticated and delicious. The wine list is great. Definitely make a reservation, but if you can’t get one, they are also open for lunch.
So, everyone has their favorite Pairs restaurants and sites. As we all know, the sky is the limit. I usually stay in the Sixth Arrondissement. Therefore, the restaurants I am suggesting here are in that area or nearby in the Latin Quarter. I won’t bore you with site-seeing recs. Just see as much as you can!
Hotel D’Aubusson Bar - This beautiful bar offers great cocktails and impeccable service. My favorite is the Laurent. A delicious blend of Campari, Mandarine and Champagne. It is garnished with red currants.
Chez Fernand - I love this cozy Traditional French spot. It is warm and inviting, the service is great and the cuisine is delicious. They have a fabulous wine list as well.
Cristine - the neighbor to Chez Fernand, this is a more modern spot with new French cuisine. It is bright and comfortable with wonderful modern cuisine.
Le Reminet - This small, dark and lovely bistro is a new favorite, but has been around for a long time. I ate there at the end of a very long work day. I was extremely well taken care of and my meal was just the comfort food I needed.
Le Coupe-Chou - A great old building and interesting cuisine.