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At the Tourist Office La Baule – Presqu’île de Guérande, the inhabitants contribute to the reception of visitors thanks to the Greeters network, created since 2016 in La Baule and now extended to the Presqu’île de Guérande. A participative dimension is also present among our Guides, who forge close links with the network and consider the Greeters as real resource persons through their testimony and experience.

Act I: Meet Caroline, 51 years old, Greeter since 2 years

The Villa Regina is one of the “exceptional” villas of the seaside resort of La Baule. Located on Avenue Pierre Loti, a stone’s throw from the Esplanade Benoît and the Barrière Group Hotels, it is a must when visiting the former Casino district.
Caroline Glon is the owner.

Born in La Baule in 1968, a few hundred metres from the Villa, she is a member of the “Club des Originaux Baulois”, a circle strictly reserved for people born in La Baule. Determined to keep this heritage in the family, she bought it from her parents and set up her law firm there. Caroline joined the network of the Greeters of La Baule 2 years ago. It is with enthusiasm and generosity that she opened the door of her Villa to the team of the Guides, to share the history of her house, which has remained unchanged since its acquisition by the family in 1964.

The dialogue is quickly established, Caroline puts us at ease very quickly thanks to her warm welcome. The guides will finally be able to discover the secrets of this Villa… especially that of the apparent fireplace which always raises many questions among the visitors! Of course, the truth will not be revealed here… but only during the guided tour of the Casino district!

The villa “Régina” was, like many others, mobilized during the German occupation, attributing many historical anecdotes to it, notably the discovery of swastikas under the period tapestry, which Caroline used to have fun unraveling as a child.
In La Baule, one cannot help but notice the presence of a network of active owners, involved in the protection and safeguarding of their heritage. The Guides see it as a great opportunity to join a network of former Baulois, overflowing with numerous testimonies.

Act II: Meeting with Bernard, 92 years old, Greeter for 4 years

Bernard joined the Greeters’ network at its inception. A leap in time for the team that went to meet him because born in 1928, Bernard holds a precious testimony of the last war and the German occupation of La Baule.

We listen carefully to the story of this former member of the Casino gang, whose names come up several times: Mockers, Bonafe… comrades, sons of the directors of the Casino and the Chantiers Navals de St-Nazaire. Bernard also remembers going to the cinema “à l’œil”! The testimony is rich and the memories are intact: parades, sentries’ relay, bombings, rationing… But one of the most memorable will probably remain the bombing of the Lancastria in 1940 off the coast of St Nazaire, which took place under his own eyes.
Always accompanied by his binder, he illustrates his words with old postcards. Sincerity and generosity permeate Bernard’s words. For us, spared from the war, our environment takes on another dimension and the words of Lucette, who followed Bernard last month, sum up well our state of mind after this meeting: “We will no longer walk on the embankment as we did before”.
These encounters bring us face to face with the obvious: exchanging with the inhabitants is a must! To create a link with those who still have a lot to share, to enrich our content or simply to have fun exchanging with people who are passionate about the area.
Today, Tourist Offices are looking for “nuggets” for their visitors, and these could well be hiding behind their inhabitants too!
It’s a question of transmission, and not just any transmission, that of the local memory, so precious for all of us, so thank you to all those who contribute to perpetuate it !

La Baule – Presqu’île de Guérande

The tourist office manages and proposes many guided tours on the territory. Click here to register.
At the same time, the office manages and proposes Greeters walks. Here is a testimony of Greeter, on his activity.
“Greeters like us, recommend the guided tours offered by the Tourist Office.
If our walk is free, it’s not to compete with them, but because the meeting is not worth the money. We accept donations if the visitors wish, but never for ourselves, because this is one of the founding values of the movement. These are donated to the national federation France Greeters in order to help raise our profile and finance the development of our booking system”.
We need an offer for all types of visitors, history lovers as well as pioneers of participative tourism, eager to meet and share with locals.

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