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Estee Stanley Headshot

An Unreal Weekend in Paris and Italy

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A trip with friends was much needed in my life, and so I visited some of the most fabulous places in Italy with some of my most fabulous friends. Nonetheless, no trip to Europe would be complete unless it is kick-started in Paris, my favorite city in the whole world.

We got off the plane and nothing could stop us from hitting all the best stores -- besides our empty stomachs. A little bar next to the most wonderful children's store, Bonpoint Outlet, seemed like the perfect place. With some potato omelet miracle food in our stomachs, we were fueled up and ready to start shopping like lunatics.

Merci, then Maje, then Serendipity... all full of children's bedding, toys and clothes that one can only dream of. By this time, I am sure you have recognized that my world revolves around my kids, and thus all things fabulous that have to do with kids. I love accent pieces when I am doing interiors, so when I found these lamps and this bedding I died!

With more shopping bags than we could carry, we arrived at Le Meurice Hotel. It was my first time staying there, but definitely not my last. With grand rooms and great service, it is a must. If you tell the concierge that you have kids they give you these wonderful baskets full of slippers and an adorable stuffed animal.

A few weeks before my trip, two friends told me about the burger at the bar of this hotel. I am never one to turn down trying something new, so that is just what we did. This burger blew my mind. I have a hard time even putting words to how delicious this was -- it was easily one of the top three that I have ever had.

Just as quickly as we came we left. Au revoir Paris, buongiorno Bernalda. If we were ever going to make it to Bernalda, Italy, we were going to have to stop for gas, which led us to the best pizza I have ever had. Apparently pizza in Italian gas stations is a common thing, who knew?

After the most amazing drive decorated with wild flowers, unreal pizza and amazing homes, we arrived at the Palazzo Margherita. This amazing 19th-century mansion was restored by the one and only Frances Ford Coppola, who felt a connection to this quaint town as it is where his paternal grandfather, Agostino, was from.

Every room is enormous; it is like having your own magical Italian apartment. Even though the rooms are spacious, the Palazzo Margherita still feels like a home -- it emotes coziness. This feeling is only heightened when you walk downstairs to the restaurant, or what I should describe as bubby's homemade kitchen.

I can only describe this restaurant experience as authentic. I felt like an Italian grandmother was cooking me a meal. Now, I hate mushrooms, so as one can imagine I was not to keen on the stuffed mushrooms we were served. However, one bite led to two, which led to four and soon enough I had ordered two more servings. Who would have thought?!

One of my favorite things to do when I travel is find the hidden, the obscure and the fabulous. So I dragged my friends out from the Palazzo's amazing grounds (but seriously, I have never seen such landscaping) and into the small town that is Bernalda. The scenery, the people and the gelato are simply amazing.