During these difficult times for the travel industry, I have been thinking a lot about the good friends we have made in our different destinations, who provide wonderful local experiences for our clients… Many of which I have also enjoyed personally on my own visits!
Karina Clarke, who runs Travel Light Paris, and a fellow New Zealander, has become a particularly good friend and colleague, who we met when she was working for one of our main apartment suppliers in Paris.
Looking back to that time, Karina says that the favourite part of her job was always the interaction with guests and personally helping them plan and arrange their stay, then getting the feedback from them afterwards.
She doesn’t work on the premise of just recommending information she has found on-line, but takes the time with guests to find out what their main priorities are, and help them plan to ensure they make the most out of their time in Paris. This includes everything from welcome baskets waiting in the apartment on arrival, to neighbourhood orientation visits (particularly helpful for first time visitors to the city), planning a personalised itinerary, and booking tickets and activities.
Her arrival welcome for our apartment guests can also include food/wine items for special celebrations, toys and puzzles to entertain young children—and even decorated Christmas trees.
"Getting to know new people and listening to their stories; sharing my passion for Paris and French artisans, being out every day in a different part of Paris, and using my knowledge and love of the city to help others enjoy it".
"I really love the gardens of the Palais Royal. This is my ‘go to place’ whenever I have time—to walk in the perfectly manicured gardens, browse the shops and galleries under the arches, to have a glass of wine on the terrace at ‘Le Nemours’ watching chic locals, or a band which starts up, still feels so quintessentially Parisian."
The gardens are worth a visit at any time of the year, and this is particularly why Karina finds this place so special:
"I love the architecture of the Palais Royal in winter when you can see the buildings through the trees, and in the spring when the magnolias come out and the gardens smell of hyacinths and the trees start turning green, and in the summer with a book by the fountain and a great coffee from ‘Kitsune’. It is so central you can walk everywhere from here, and the surrounding area is full of great shops, cafes, restaurants for all budgets, bars and some of the most famous Paris sights, museums and monuments. I can't wait to be back there soon!"
We can’t wait for her to be back there soon either—we too are missing exploring the delights of this wonderful city!