DOESN'T HAVE TO COME FROM AMAZON
HOW OUR ARTISANS ADAPT IN 2020
Artisans are resilient by nature. They are passionate about what they do, and aren't afraid of hard work. Those who used to work in the corporate world admit that this job is much harder, but infinitely more gratifying. That is a sentiment that is worth saving, so we really need to support our artisans during these trying times. They make such high quality products, so this is a win-win for the consumer as well.
I was fortunate to interview many artisans over the past two years, and can't wait to meet more of these extraordinary people once it is safe again to do so. In the mean time, let's see how some of our favorite artisans are adapting to these crazy times.
We first met Antoine Fauqueur in the ancient shoe capital of France, Romans-sur-Isere in 2018. His company Un Si Beau Pas (Such a Pretty Step) breathes new life into the shoe manufacturing workshops there. Once a bustling industry, many workshops closed during the boom of cheap, mass-produced shoes abroad. But Antoine understands that women like to have beautiful, quality shoes that fit like a glove. Women get to choose the color, leather, heel height and even the toe shape. In the 2 weeks they take to finish, 15 artisans will have worked on these hand-crafted shoes. These precious pairs are not sold in department stores, but rather a group of Ambassadors design and fit each client personally.
With all of the beautiful combinations to choose from, I ended up with 3 pairs of pumps and a pair of booties! But like many women, I find that my dress shoes have migrated to the back of the closet, and dare I say, even started to collect dust? The ingenuity of artisans is amazing, as they have found ways to make us feel chic even while in our comfy clothes nestled up to our home computers. Un Si Beau Pas was recently featured on the prestigious French TV show 13H. (Click on the link below)
Chapeau, Antoine! I can't wait for my cozy slippers to arrive! (And I may have gotten a pair to give as special gift as well! 😏) Create your custom earrings or bracelet for that special someone on your list.
A Tried and True Tradition
La Maison Léonard Parli a été fondée en 1874 par un confiseur suisse Léonard Parli qui découvrit lors d’un voyage à Aix-en-Provence une friandise appelée calisson.
Il fut séduit par cette douceur et décida de fonder la première fabrique de Calissons d’Aix.
Depuis près de 150 ans, les secrets de fabrication de la maison Parli sont précieusement gardés, les deux familles propriétaires de Léonard Parli, depuis sa création en 1874, se sont transmis avec passion l’exclusivité du savoir-faire Parli.
La grande fabrique de calissons, aujourd’hui la boutique historique, se situe au cœur de la ville d’Aix en Provence à deux pas de la Rotonde et du Cour Mirabeau, au 35 avenue Victor Hugo.
La Maison Léonard Parli was founded in 1874 by a Swiss candy maker Léonard Parli who discovered a candy called "calisson" during a trip to Aix-en-Provence. He was seduced by the sweetness and decided to create the first "Calisson d'Aix". For almost 150 years the secrets of their production have been carefully guarded; the know-how has been passed down exclusively to the two families who have owned Léonard Parli since its creation in 1874.
Discover the making of the Calissons in the historic boutique, situated in the heart of the city of Aix-en-Provence, two steps from the Rotunda and the famous Cours Mirabeau -
35 avenue Victor Hugo.
AIX - Centre Ville
35, avenue Victor Hugo
04 42 26 05 71
The Calisson is one of the traditional 13 Desserts of Provence - representing Christ and the 12 Apostles, so this little confection will be served in almost ever household in Provence this holiday season. (For more about the 13 desserts, read our article on French Holidays here)
Pierre and his team welcomed us, and let me try my hand at the icing, back in 2018 as well.
Simple ingredients, the perfect combination of sweetness and crunch, it is the perfect addition to the holiday table. Leonard Parli makes other delectable confections as well, and they do deliver to the US! Although it is a shame not to go to the historic boutique or Provençal markets this year, their business will not miss a beat this year! If s you are looking for a unique treasure, every year they design a limited-edition calendar on a tea towel. There are even some who have the entire collection from its debut!
One of the biggest delights for me is finding that special, unique gift for my loved ones. 2020 has dampened our spirits in many ways this year, but thanks to our dedicated artisans, there are treasures to be found!