Where the Experts Holiday: Karen Tait of Living France

What do you like to do on holiday?

I like to combine periods of complete sloth with sudden bursts of activity – for example, lazing on the beach or by a river with a book, and then spending a day cycling or hiking.

Where did you last travel?

I visited the south of France a couple of weeks ago on a property-viewing trip as part of my work. My last big holiday was to Thailand this summer, but I always visit France several times a year – anything from hiking in the Alps to cycling along the Canal du Midi, or exploring the chateaux of the Loire, or simply spending some quality time at my family’s holiday home in Carcassonne.

Do you know where you’re going next?

I tend to plan trips on the spur of the moment – my next jaunt to France will be a springtime long weekend in Paris.

Of all the places you’ve been to, what was your favorite and why?

Long-haul Thailand and Australia are hard to beat, while close to home France clearly has a special place in my heart.

Which destination do you wish to travel to but haven’t been there yet?

I’d like to take six months out to explore South America.

In your own area, what would you recommend tourists see that isn’t in the travel guides?

In France, I would recommend people get off the beaten track a little, and use their own two feet, or two wheels, to explore the huge tracts of unspoiled and breathtaking countryside. France has mountains, gently rolling hills, vast plains, vineyards, sunflower and lavender fields, a hugely varied coastline, meandering rivers, lakes big and small and dramatic gorges, not to mention the countless charming villages and towns, offering a rich cultural heritage – it is truly a country to get lost in.

How do you plan a vacation?

Generally a mixture of online and guidebook research, but you can’t beat a personal recommendation.

Where do you see tourism in France in 10 years time?

The British have an enduring love affair with France, which isn’t affected by trends, so I’d expect it to be quite similar to the present situation. Eco-tourism in France is becoming more popular, with increasing numbers of ‘green’ gites, for example, and wine tourism is also on the up. It will be interesting to see which low-cost flight routes will be in existence in 10 years’ time – but as 60% of Brits travel to France by car, I doubt this will have much of an effect on the holiday market.

Related Video: