As the main association of tour guides in the south of France, we are constantly checking and improving the skills of our tour guides.
Even if 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 are freshly graduated, because their studies focus on foreign languages, history, the history of art, architecture, economy and culture.
The Association of Guides-Lecturers Sud Provence has a secretariat for continuing education in order to allow all holders of the Professional Guide-Lecturer Card to constantly progress.
Each guide joining our team receives special training to comply with our Charter of Excellence.
1) Be kind and sympathetic
Throughout the duration of the tour, your guide keeps it real. He is like a member of your group, like a friend. It is extremely easy to communicate with him. He does his best to make sure you all enjoy the time you spend together.
2) Dress properly
Because he cares about you and knows who you are, your guide thinks and dresses appropriately. Nothing special, but definitely 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 are 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, buys tickets in advance, and arranges anything you can think of. This means that he takes care of you and respects 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, 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 by being a master of storytelling. Events that happened centuries ago can be hilarious, if you know how to tell them.
7) Be specific
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 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. It 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 bogus guides.
9) Be confident, but don’t be afraid to say, “I’m sorry. I don’t 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 into the air, but that in fact what he is saying makes sense. Since not all questions are answered, your guide won’t be afraid to say “I’m sorry. I don’t know. “We’re only humans after all. But it won’t be long before your guide continues with you.
10) 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 tour. He will always adapt to your pace and keep you involved and attentive throughout the duration of 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. As he explains the construction of a building or a historical event to you, he will look at you all, explaining clearly and with confidence what happened, when and why; but also grateful if any of you are bored and reacting accordingly.
12) Use visuals when needed
Talking and telling stories from the past is enjoyable, and your guide is an expert; 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.