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Folders  |  Alexandra Pauthier: Doctor and manager
Alexandra Pauthier: Doctor and manager
Cédric Lecler
Alexandra Pauthier: Doctor and manager
To start with, it was a hobby: something to do to compensate for an unfulfilled career as a doctor. Travellingtolisbon.com became a proper business that Alexandra now manages alongside being a kidney specialist and GP, as well as a mother of four.
Alexandra doesn’t have a minute to lose: she lives life in the fast lane between the blood dialysis centre at Entrecampos, private consultations and her role as manager of Lisbon’s top short-term rental agency called Travelingtolisbon.com.

After a quiet childhood and teenage years spent in Torres Vedras, Alexandra Pauthier became a dedicated medical student in Lisbon. Her destiny took a sharp turn when during her training she decided to experience a one year internship at the Broussais hospital in Paris. Initially, her love of the French capital meant she had only one intention: to work in France, even if it meant studying two more years in order to acquire equivalent qualifications. She was even recruited to work in Bichat…one of the top Parisian hospitals.  This is where she met her husband. At the time he was a young French teacher (and now teaches at the French Lycée in Lisbon) who wanted to discover Lisbon… he later fell in love with the place! 

Alexandra therefore gave in to her husband’s wishes and returned to her homeland. She decided to increase her expertise and then tried to implement a new surgery technique, one never seen before in Portugal.
After a short spell at the Amadora –Sintra hospital, she went to work in Sétubal.  However, here she experienced the bureaucracy of hospital administration, with its codes, rituals and internal politics that made her feel uneasy. She became impatient… which is one of her distinguishing traits of character… and dropped out of the system.
She was feeling unfulfilled, but then had a brilliant idea. Her growing family (Alexandra now has four children, aged 9, 6, 5 and 4) meant she needed somewhere bigger, so she decided to rent the small flat she just vacated in Ajuda for short stays.
She put one, two, three and then four flats on the market for short-term rental, all situated in the city’s historical neighbourhoods. With a cousin, Alexandra worked day and night to create a website so that customers could go and see the flats online. In 2004, there were about thirty or so short-stay flats for rental in the historical parts of Lisbon. Today, there are nearly 500! 
At that time people cashed in on the idea and a string of competitors sprung up like weeds. But Alexandra was ambitious and had vision. She knew that she needed to act quickly, so she was the first to offer owners full management of the flats they gave her to rent out. She takes care of the interior design, takes all of the photos placed on the website (a strong selling point), and only selects flats in the historical neighbourhoods of the capital.
Today this is the only totally Portuguese agency of its sort and a market leader, due to a portfolio of over 150 short-term rental properties, half of which managed directly by her! The website Alexandra created is now referenced in several European countries. 
It hasn’t all been plain sailing, of course, and Alexandra faced the usual trials and tribulations of starting up a business. However, today she can rely on her faithful staff, and she enjoys a strong reputation with both owners and customers alike.
40% of those renting the flats are Spanish and 40% are a mix of French, German and English. The service provided is fully comprehensive, ranging from welcoming guests at the airport to baby-sitting, catering and car rental.
But Alexandra never stops : she now wants to develop the number of commercial agreements she has so that she can offer Lisbon residents flats to rent in the best European capitals.
Part doctor, part businesswoman: she’s a very talented lady!

Out of the following buildings, which do you think best symbolises Lisbon?
Belém tower
Mosteiro dos Jerónimos
25th April bridge
Praça do Comércio (square)
S. Jorge Castle
Rossio Station
Cathedral (Sé)
Free water aqueduct
Monument to discoveries
Santa Justa elevator
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