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Behind the scenes of the profession of guide‑lecturer in 5 steps

The guides-lecturers of the Ministry of Tourism and Culture are the ambassadors of the territories and tourist sites of our country. They are the only professionals authorized to conduct visits to historic centers, listed sites, monuments and museums. All are university graduates (professional guide-lecturer license or equivalent). Here are their five key skills to make you spend unforgettable moments

Step 1: Manage your time as efficiently as possible

Your guide does his homework in advance. Equipped with social intelligence, he identifies your needs in order to provide you with a memorable cultural experience. He knows his tricks perfectly, both from the point of view of scientific content and logistics. He masters his tour itineraries and, when these include the entrance to a monument or museum, he takes care of the purchase of tickets. This means that he takes care of you and respects you and your time. He knows that you probably have connections to make (plane, train, cruise ship) or other schedule constraints after your visit.



Step 2: Proximity and distance, the right balance

Throughout the tour, your guide keeps it alive. He is like a member of your group and holds his place, neither too distant nor too familiar. He shows great social ease and has undeniable communication skills. He makes sure to make your time enjoyable. Your guide also knows how to make you laugh. It’s a rare skill that can’t be learned just by making good jokes, but also by being the expert on the sites he shows you. Therein lies the magic of this profession, knowing how to show seriousness, without being boring, knowing how to be light, while maintaining the rigor that befits the scientific and factual discourse delivered.

Step 3: Simplicity, precision and intelligibility

During your visit to a city or the countryside, you will learn a lot about the destination, its history and its specialties. Your guide is perfectly trained to share his knowledge.

His visits are the result of several weeks of reading and documentary research. The aim of this preparatory work is to make the places he presents to you intelligible. Our professional guides have worked on this intelligibility for years and maintain it throughout their careers, through continuing education and personal readings. You will be able to understand that they are experts, unlike the improvised and self-proclaimed guides who exercise this profession without a professional card and without recognized university training.

Step 4: Trust and humility

Your guide is an expert in the places he shows you around, whether they are towns, villages, monuments and museums. Expertise does not mean omniscience. Also, your tour guide will be able to do personal research on a question that you addressed to him and to which he could not have answered you immediately. Usually, the tour guide will contact you after the visit by e-mail or by telephone so as to provide you with the answer to the question addressed. Humility is at the heart of the professional conscience of the tour guide. He works his questions, deepens his subjects, updates his knowledge and when he does not know, he says it; then does the adequate research to provide you with the expected answer.

Step 5: Storytelling and adapting to diverse audiences

Eye contact is essential in order to share a story with confidence. Your guide knows, too, how important body language is. During his presentations, he will not hesitate to vary the media which are the result of several hours of documentary research: engraving, paintings, numismatics, tables, old photos in black and white or in color, video extracts on tablet. The guide knows how to bring his stories to life by illustrating them. He has been able to keep up to date: he masters digital tools and knows how to adapt to different audiences, both seniors and young people, children and adolescents. Some guides master sign language and can address audiences with various disabilities. You would have understood it. The guides-lecturers combine various skills. Call on them for your guided tours!

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