Hello Eléonore, you manage ‘Guidae’, a tour agency based in Le Pouliguen. Could you tell us about it?
The first few visits were set up about 10 years ago, to start off with it was just a small association. Little by little the organization grew. Guidae the company has been in existence now for 5 years. We have guided tours for individual people and day tours for groups and seminars. We’ve also just recently set up a travel agency. Our objective is to sustain existing jobs. The team consists of 4.5 full time posts all year round. With an increase during the summer season to 8 to 10 employees. We also offer a transport service which is ‘upon demand’ covering the distance between your accommodation and the Peninsula as a whole, the railway stations or even as far as the airport in Nantes.
What gave you the idea to create Guidae?
I was already working as a guide/interpreter. I had the pleasure of meeting many American and Canadian tourists. When I used to get home at night I would think to myself it’s such a shame not to provide a service for the people who live in the area all year round. It’s true that I love this area so much that I’ve managed to forge links with all sorts of people from many different sectors. But who have one major thing in common their passion for this area. The idea of combining all of this and putting something together from which everyone could benefit took root in my mind.
How would you define the ‘Guidae’ concept?
“please follow the guide”, is what you see typically in many places as a concept and is exactly what you don’t want to do! The tourists should really be proactive on holiday and therefore at the centre of decisions concerning his/her visits too. The message we like to get across is “you can trust us to introduce you to some real people, real locals”.
At the end of the day each visit is different. It depends on the guide, the people following the tour. But also the weather conditions, the time of the day, it’s never the same. It’s a bit like mayonnaise the ingredients aren’t always exactly the same each time!
Could you describe for us how you see the Destination?
I am a total fan of this whole area. The setting sun across the marshlands of La Brière it’s just magic! The sun rise in the salt marshes is well, just amazing! …and the coastline…I never tire of it…
When I see people driving about in their cars around the area of Batz sur Mer I think to myself they don’t know what they’re missing! Oblivious to something quite fantastic! If they just took the time to really discover what lies beyond the roads, the pretty drystone walls covered in flowers which edge the narrow lanes. They could marvel at the little piles of salt, come across the donkey and the goats belonging to Mr ‘Somebody’ whom we know so well and finally would find themselves in the heart of the salt marshes this marvelous place second to none ! But no, they’re stuck behind the wheel of their cars…such a shame… ! I could also tell you about ‘Le trait’ at Le Croisic over towards Pen Bron, the landscape and the sky ever changing...never the same twice! There are so many places that I really love here…
Where do you think you get this enthusiasm for meeting people and being a guide?
When the time came to think about what line of work I was interested in I discovered the description of what it was to be a guide. Immediately I said to myself this is the job for me !: to be paid for travelling and talking all the time, just the business!
Joking aside, I had the good fortune of having an amazing grandmother. She was interested in everything, from culture to economics and demography...At the age of 8 I attended my very first conference on Rubens! It’s thanks to her that I discovered this ‘passion’. She inspired me, motivated me to have a curious mind, want to find out more about everything…
Can you tell us, for you, what does it means to be a guide?
To be a guide you could just learn the contents of many books off by heart. But this isn’t how I see this job. If you like, I see it more along the lines of being a detective specializing in history, having a craving to always find out more…. then, having desire to share this knowledge with others.
One of my missions is to support students who are training to become guides. I do my upmost to share with them my passion and love for this job. Its very important that they focus on the subjects they find most interesting. This is the way they will become good guides. Here at Guidae each and every one of us puts his/her penny’s worth when it comes to the planning of the visits he/she has chosen to guide for. In this way we always have something new and interesting to offer to our visitors. We can take the example of Morgane who is currently creating her own resources for tomorrow’s family-group visit.
Which tour is your real favourite?
For me, it’s got to be ‘Phares en lumière’
. It’s an opportunity to get onto subjects as yet undiscovered by our visitors. Few people are aware of the importance of this area during boom era of the merchant marine trade between the 16th
centuries. We get to see the amazement i
n the visitors’ eyes! More and more of the local people are coming along to this tour. They bring with them anecdotes which further enrich the experience for others. It’s great, a real moment of sharing
amongst people with a common interest for the subject.
We also talk about the other magical aspects of the sea. It’s true that it’s a place to do sport, windsurfing or sailing in a catamaran but there’s so much more to it than that…and that’s when we plunge deep into people’s imaginations…The ocean is a vast expanse of water which we love and fear all at the same time. You just have to glance around you to see the fascination etched on every face! And to crown it all a magnificent sun set
! A moment of pure happiness!
How do we go about booking on one of your tours?
It’s really easy. Just ask for details from the reception desk where you are staying or you can contact us directly at Guidae by phone or on our web site
. You can also book in some of the Destination’s Tourist Offices. What’s more from a practical point of view, there is a minibus shuttle
available between your accommodation, the Tourist Offices and the starting point of the tour.