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Interview with Magali Déchelette, Founder and CEO of Family Twist

Magali started her career as a management consultant, which gave her the opportunity to work abroad, especially in London and China. In both countries, she became aware through talking to various people about how difficult it is for families to travel to Paris, her home city. This gave her the idea to found Family Twist, a bespoke travel agency focusing exclusively on family needs in cultural destinations. Magali Déchelette What is it that you do exactly?
I share my time between three things. First, I work continuously with the team on bespoke itineraries, i.e. I make sure we build a trip that will be perfect for a specific family, considering the structure of the family and the ages and tastes of the kids… I’ve designed many of them myself and I always want to keep an eye on providing a truly bespoke service. Then I am constantly on the lookout for new activities and services which would be wonderful for families. Thirdly, I am currently spending a lot of time in London polishing up the last few details before launching it as a new destination this Spring.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
Seeing how excited the kids are when they get to spend some quality time with their parents. More often than not our guests are really busy in their everyday life. We offer them the chance to take a breather and share some special moments with their kids. I was really surprised for instance with our Impressionist Art Class. Most of the time, it is the first opportunity the kids had ever had to create a family masterpiece with their parents. And to be honest, the parents love this class too as it’s a good excuse to step back in time and enjoy being “children” again! Usually the Dads don’t want it to end!
What would you say are the 3 best places you’ve ever stayed?
Pom Pom Island Resort on Borneo Island – the epitome of paradise where you can admire sea turtles from your eco-friendly bungalow terrace. Crillon Le Brave Relais and Chateaux – an escape from Paris’s buzz, located between the Dentelles de Montmirail and the famous Mont Ventoux. This idyllic spot gives you the opportunity to enjoy the great outdoors during the day and a bit of luxury at night with a wonderful gourmet restaurant and a friendly atmosphere. Lastly, Borneo Rainforest Lodge, which is in the heart of the primary rainforest. A great place to admire orang-utan in their natural habitat, and many species of birds and monkeys. They provide you with leech socks to avoid any discomfort! Breakfast with a view overlooking the river is magical.
What’s been your most memorable dining experience to date?
Jean François Piège’s 2 Michelin star restaurant. I love the way Jean François Piège has done away with all the fanciness of typical gourmet restaurant to focus on one thing: the food. Waiters are in jeans, and you can forget about the paragraph-long descriptions of the dishes… in here, you choose the main ingredients and you discover afterwards how the chef decided to prepare it that day. The only difficult thing in here is the booking: with only 20 guests, you have to leap on your phone exactly 15 days before the date of your booking at 9am sharp.
Have you rubbed shoulders with the rich and famous, either through your work or your travels?
Yes, we have hosted some famous families. In the end when they are travelling with the kids, they are like any other normal parents. They may have different constraints, such as being unable to wander around outside without security staff, but most of our activities happen in locations that have been made private for the family only, so they are very discreet.
What currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
A fisheye lens for my camera – I really could have done with one of these last summer in Bagan, Burma!
Thank you for taking part in our interview, Magali. As a busy Dad to young children myself, I’m sure there is plenty of demand for a service such as your own and I wish you well in your continued success. If you would like to be interviewed on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Paul Johnson

Paul Johnson is Editor of A Luxury Travel Blog and has worked in the travel industry for more than 30 years. He is Winner of the Innovations in Travel ‘Best Travel Influencer’ Award from WIRED magazine. In addition to other awards, the blog has also been voted “one of the world’s best travel blogs” and “best for luxury” by The Daily Telegraph.

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