Today the Nantes Greeters together with actors from the working class districts of the Nantes Metropolitan Area (residents, associations, micro-enterprises, institutions), are devising a tourist and cultural offer on the territory that would aim to develop an offer of accommodation, discovery and enhancement of our neighbourhoods !
What if, instead of looking at the so-called “difficult” districts and large ensembles in particular as negatives of the city and pathogenic spaces, we valued their heritage and cultural interest, with the actors of the territory?
The Herons land on the metropolis and intend to make their nest to propose a new tourist and cultural offer!
Participatory tourism involves the host population in tourist activities or visitors in the local life of the territory visited, a way of rethinking the relationship between tourists and residents, of reinventing the sense of hospitality. This is what the Greeters of Nantes have been doing since 2007.
Mathias, Can you tell us the history of the Nantes Greeters project?
Nantes Greeters, an association created in 2007, offers a form of participatory and solidarity tourism. Participatory because there is participation of the inhabitants in the tourist reception, and supportive because it respects the natural and cultural environment, which favours meeting and exchange, and participates in local development. It is therefore quite naturally that we very early on asked ourselves the question of the development of “everything” in Nantes (and not only its centre, its tourist places already rather well known).
In 2012, the Greeters de Nantes association, accompanied by the Ecossolies, organised a first study trip to Seine Saint Denis with the actors of the Nantes districts (Kenja, Tak Après, La Luna…). The idea was to study how the Dionisians “put initiatives from the working class neighbourhoods into tourism”.
In this dynamic, in 2013 and 2015, the Greeters are organising the “Nantes se dévoile” event, visits proposed by residents and associations in the Dervallières, Malakoff and Nantes Nord districts. A real success!
In 2018, a group of people from Nantes (Greeters, inhabitants, associations, elected representatives) will go to Marseille to discover “Hôtel du Nord”, a cooperative of inhabitants to discover Marseille-Provence with those who live, work and live there.
How can people create a broader vision of tourism?
We are firmly convinced that our territory is full of vital forces, of heritage assets so that a tourist offer “off the beaten track” exists. Strong forces, with a strong associative network, entrepreneurs, people in love with their neighbourhoods. Heritage assets. Beyond the same people who keep these neighbourhoods alive every day, our neighbourhoods are beautiful and diverse.
The demand for authenticity is constantly increasing and this offer is complementary to the traditional forms of tourism. Participatory tourism in working-class neighbourhoods, therefore, puts certain values back on the agenda, it makes it possible to go beyond the economic dimension and strengthen the human dimension, of meeting and openness.
What are the prospects in the coming months
Once again, the heritage of a territory is not only the beautiful stones, it is also the people who live there, the collective local initiatives… We do not want to do “in place of” but with them. It is our main driving force and for us a factor of success and sustainability.
The culture of co-construction, the varied and balanced governance in our neighborhoods and the remarkable natural landscapes are very positive elements for a tourism development project of this type. It will, therefore, have to be supported and led by various actors (citizens, donors, institutions and associations). If a habit and trust already exists, the project will be greatly facilitated and can contribute to improving the image of the neighborhoods. We have already been able to present this project to residents and associations, the welcome is very positive, we are already building our first community!
“The Herons” !
Supported by the Greeters de Nantes association, the “Les Hérons” project aims to bring together actors from the working-class districts of the Nantes metropolis in order to propose a tourist and cultural offer. Accommodation walks, enhancement of local productions are on the agenda.
Follow us on the adventure!
Do you know Nantes and its metropolis? Oh, really?
With its project to create a tourist and cultural structure in the districts of Nantes Metropole “Les Hérons”, Les Greeters de Nantes and some crazy partners are proposing a new event in Nantes Metropole!
Nantes, its various districts and those of the metropolis are full of hidden treasures (heritage, culture, local initiatives). We offer you a unique journey to discover the different facets of our city’s neighborhoods.