World

3.18.2013

Travel Journal: FAM NYC's European Vacation

We caught up with our talented friends at FAM NYC during fashion week in Paris right in the middle of some insane "workcation" they were all on together. The few stories they told us over beers sounded like a dream come true, so we asked them if they could share a few pictures and some of the highlights from their trip for our latest Milk Made Travel Journal. Enjoy!

Italy and France. The countries of choice for our next installment. 10 Days, 10,000miles, 5 cities, 1 50mm – whirlwind tour leaving us with more questions than answers.

Chapter 1 – Italy

We arrived in Rome, welcomed by our dear friend Francesco, FAM’s Italian partner, who met us at the airport and whisked us off to Umbria, Tuscany’s beautiful and voluptuous sister. Known as The Green Heart of Italy, Umbria is a series of foothills, mountains, rivers and lakes, known for its simple, clean living with a pension for luxury (black truffles and cashmere to be exact). In perfect rhythm, our first glass of wine came with lunch, followed by a second and a third and a nap.

For three days we got the insider food tour of Terni which included one night at Portaria (an old fort), a five-course hilltop lunch at a restaurant built by our hosts, but nothing stands out more prominently than Renzo’s.

Led through the small streets of Terni by our host and friends, we arrived at the restaurant. Greeted by Renzo himself, a man of small stature but an enveloping smile, we were seated at the largest table, a six top placed for eight. Oddly enough, the tiny restaurant was draped in pictures of Obama. It was custom that American visitors return for his generosity with Presidential paraphernalia (top of the todo list). As the night progressed, we were periodically visited by Renzo, dropping off another regional specialty, often sitting with us for moments of laughter. At 11PM Renzo shut the door, locking us in and opening up the house. Out came the aperitifs, champagne and salumi. Smoking, and drinking our way to a permanent, infectious smile, Renzo proved to be a gracious host, dispelling any premonitions we may have had being young foreigners in an old world.

Next stop, Florence. We did the obligatory, visiting the D’Uomo, Boboli Gardens, Gucci Museum, a few leather shops and The Ponte Vecchio. The basic tourist package wasn’t complete without an espresso OD, done. We ate a 6lb steak, drank wine, saw the Italian elections end in stalemate, got molested by Side Show Bob, kissed Italy on both cheeks and off to Paris we went.

Chapter 2 – Bonjour Paris, comment allez-vous?

Our home away from home in Paris was Le Saint Regis on I’lle Saint-Louis, a magical restaurant straight out of Keith McNally’s playbook, complete with unforgettable mustard, classic meat and cheese plates, cornichon (small pickles which only the French do right), Stella Artois, a view of the Seine, it was our haunt for the week. If you go, make the effort!

One night’s call to arms took us to the MadeFW party at Carr’s, followed by late night at Le Baron with some veterans of Paris nightlife. No Milk party would be complete without a milestone, that evening’s took form as a wet t-shirt contest. The over-served contestants nimbly climbed the bar wearing their gifted MadeFW shirt, and were handed open bottles of champagne; if you have ever been to Cancun (guilty), you can imagine what happened next. Not much of a contest really – one round and no acknowledge victor, the sound of iPhones snapping a gram proved nearly as loud the sirens atop the bar. Blackmail worthy stuff.

On our last day, we met with legendary artist Bernar Venet at La Flore, a Parisian fixture of high society café life. We had heard rumors, all which were true, that he was indeed The Worlds Most Interesting Man. Four of us, one of him, he held court like a master orator, taking us through his extraordinary life in under two beers. Despite our silence, we were invited to spend the following night at his house outside of Cannes. We couldn’t say no, and the next morning we rented a car, and headed south, but first, our last night in ‘The City of Lights’.

On a recommendation our last night lead us to Tape Bar. Imagine Supreme meets Mars Bar (R.I.P.); skater kids equipped with sharpies and cheap beer. Located in the Bastille, equivalent to the Lower East Side 10 years ago (maybe), this area of town was rambunctious, filled with sketchy activity and drunken students. It was 4AM before we got into bed, only 2 hours of sleep before we headed South.

Chapter 3 Road Trip

Up at the crack of dawn, we set our destination, The French Riviera, and smashed down through the heartland of France in our fo-do Volvo. We reached our abode in the early evening, met by Lazlo, our gracious host. A private tour of his studio and gallery was followed by seafood pizza in Cannes, appropriate for the last night in Europe.

Up at 4AM, again, we shot down the Italian coast watching the sunrise over the Mediterranean. The absence of highway patrol allowed us to make the flight in with time to spare. We dropped on Francesco in Terni, completing the journey, and headed to the Airport. Basta!

We were also there for business, but that’s a different story all together. See more pictures of the trip on our Instagram: @FAM_NYC

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