As professionals sworn in by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, we are constantly checking and improving the skills of our tour guides.
Even if the professional French tourist guides already have a good training thanks to their bachelor's or master's degree, their knowledge remains essentially theoretical when they have recently graduated, because their studies focus on foreign languages, the story, the history of art, l’architecture, economy and culture.
1) Be kind and sympathetic
Throughout the visit, your guide keeps it real. He's like a member of your group, like a friend. It is extremely easy to communicate with him. He does his best to make all of you enjoy the time you spend together.
2) Dressed properly
Because he cares about you and knows who you are, your guide thinks and dresses appropriately. Nothing in particular, but certainly not in a way that will make you stay away and feel uncomfortable.
3) Know your audience
Your guide does his homework in advance. He knows who you are, what you want and what country you come from. Why? Because it helps your guide to communicate better with you.
4) Come ready
Your guide knows the tour perfectly. He prepares the road, buy tickets in advance and organize everything you can think of. It means he takes care of you and respects you, you and your time.
5) Respect the time
Speaking of time, having X hours means you have X hours. You might have to take a plane, a train or cruise ship. Timing is very important to your guide and they know exactly how to handle the flow of your visit.
6) Help you relax, feel good and laugh
It's a rare skill. How can your guide do it ? Not just by making good jokes, but being a master of storytelling. Events that happened centuries ago can be hilarious, if you know how to tell them.
7) Be specific
When visiting a city or the countryside, you will learn a lot about the destination, its history and its specialties. Your guide is fully trained to share information clearly and without unnecessary substance. Guides who know a lot are often tempted to show off their incredible knowledge, which is a huge mistake ! We too hate guides who simply hit the play button and listen to themselves ! They try to say more than they can in a given time. So, a lot of information is given, but this information is not well explained.
8) Make it simple and easy
Making a story simple is difficult, but your guide is an expert. He is so well prepared that even the most complex stories (like the Popes of Avignon in the 14th century) are delivered in an extremely simplistic and realistic manner. Keeping things simple and easy is a rare quality. Our professional guides have worked on this quality for years. You can immediately understand that they are experts, unlike unauthorized guides or false guides.
9) To be confident, but don't be afraid to say: “I am sorry. I do not know.”
Even if your guide is an expert, there are always some questions that he / she may find difficult to answer. Your guide will only answer your questions if he has a correct answer. It adds to your experience because you will immediately feel that your guide is not just talking in the air , but that in fact what he says makes sense. Since not all questions are answered, your guide won't be afraid to say "I'm sorry. I do not know “. We're only humans after all. But your guide will not be long in continuing with you.
10) To be enthusiastic
Your guide has become a professional guide and a member of our team because he / she is passionate about sharing. You won't see him get bored and you won't even be able to find a single bit of boredom in his voice., even at the end of a 12-hour visit. He will always adapt to your pace and keep you involved and attentive throughout the visit.
11) Body language
Eye contact (but not only) is essential in order to share a story with confidence. Your guide knows how important body language is. While he will explain to you the construction of a building or a historical event, he will look at you all, explaining clearly and confidently what happened, when and why; but also grateful if some of you are bored and reacting accordingly.
12) Use visuals when needed
Talking and telling stories from the past is nice, and your guide is a specialist; but we all know a picture is worth a thousand words. In some specific cases, your guide will show you pictures or maps that will help you understand the story, the specific event, the particular character even better. Visual aids will support and enrich the story precisely when needed.
Thanks for reading.