Conversation with Olivier Carneiro

River View: From a Lisbon Window 

From the 6th floor of this historic building, Lisbon’s roofs are like the waves. They undulate from all the windows of this charming apartment. Even from its stunning shower, the old castle along the River Tage appears like an island while bell towers seem like rocks. Just like 40 year old Portuguese tourism professional and owner Olivier Carneiro does each time he returns to his flat, let’s dream for a while on this sea of Mediterranean tiles. From here, Portuguese melancholy and poetry is floating all around, and the soul of Fernando Pessoa is passing through these windows. The journey begins…

Olivier, you worked 20 years for a Portuguese aerial company and now you manage several apartments in the historic center of Lisbon. Is it still a kind of travel for you?

“Yes indeed. Because I’m renting my apartments to travelers and I love this job! I meet people from everywhere and they are always happy. Happy to be on vacation of course but happy to get inside a nice place with a special history, situation and decoration too. When they arrive here, I can see their face! They are smiling! The journey is beginning from those windows!”

What kind of apartments do you like and do you rent?

“I love buying old places in old buildings to restore them because I love History. This one, River View, is located in an historic building and district reconstructed at the end of the XVIIIe century, after the big earthquake of Lisbon in 1755. Each street was dedicated to a professional activity. Here, Rua do Commercio, not far from the harbor, was the commercial street and like you can see, there is a heavy and old vault in this living room because this place belonged to a business man. History is already a kind of travel and the decoration by my decorator, Homestaging Factory, turned around this idea. This way of working allowed me to welcome high-end clients. My clients are interested in a certain way of life. They appreciate culture and most of the time they are connoisseurs.”

Is that also true for your clients from BoutiqueHomes?

“Clients from BoutiquesHomes are exactly what I’m looking for. They are sophisticated and they appreciate this historical district, this old building with it’s nice wood floor. They know what they’re looking for. I like that.”

Renting a flat like this one and discovering a city like Lisbon through its view but also its history, is it the new way of traveling?

“Yes, I am sure about this. Now a certain kind of traveler wants more than a hotel. The idea of traveling is changing. They are looking for an experience and of course the best one. This summer, I traveled with my wife and two kids for a month and half across Europe. I rented flats everywhere and everywhere I was feeling at the same time at home and somewhere else! You’re living differently than your own way of life! It’s an interesting and exiting way of traveling!”

From your windows, the atmosphere reminds us of Fernando Pessoa, the famous Portuguese writer and poet. Don’t you think?

“You’re right. Pessoa loved this district. Just at the next corner, there is one of his favorite bars, Martinho da Arcada. And you see, here, in the master bedroom, just under the bow windows, I made a place to read or to take a coffee…

Any comments?