Interview with Sylvie, guide in the French Riviera

27 May 2016

Interview with Sylvie, guide in the French Riviera

Sylvie-di-Cristo-Unique-tours-factoryThis week, one of our guides on the French Riviera answers our questions and gives us all her  secrets. Professional guide-lecturer and little curious mouse passionate by her region, Sylvie offers original guided tours by walk, minivan or boat in all the beautiful sights of the French Riviera such as Saint-Tropez, Cannes, Monaco and all the little surrounding villages.

To you, what are the main qualities a tour guide should have?

The first is the flexibility because the customer is always the one deciding. As tour guides, we must learn to adapt to the customer needs, be prepared to change everything if the customer requests it etc… Then, it’s the friendliness and the sense of hospitality. I will also say altruism because the guide doesn’t do what he(she) wants but mainly what the visitor wants, so he can have a good time.

I guess you need to do a lot of research upstream? How do you prepare them and how do you find these little gemstones and curious details that make your tours unique?

Each tour requires some substantial preparation. For that I do a lot of personal exploration. I am very curious and when I’m not working, I’m wandering in search of novelties (new places, new handicrafts shops, renovated houses or streets, or even little interesting details I had not noticed before). I also do some researches on internet then I’ll go see if it interests me or not. On site, I meet with people who give me valuable information about the local life and places. Then, I often discover other places when I talk with my colleagues or with the residents.

What is your favorite place in your city and on the French Riviera?

Here are some places where I like to guide in but also going for a walk:

In Cannes: the Forville Market (fruits, vegetables, flowers, fish). I love this place because it has many colors, delicious smells, animation, noise… It is very alive! There is a good crowd here. Locals come to shop, pensioners come have a drink on the terrace… I love this buzzy atmosphere!

In Nice: I love the Old Nice! I always find small details that I had not seen before, new shops opening or streets which are changing and renovating. It is a place of legends and traditions always in movement that I particularly like.

Haut de Cagnes: I live in the old town of Cagnes-sur-Mer. It’s very lively and not known by tourists so it’s mostly a place where locals live that has retained its authenticity. There is a beautiful view and a unique castle (there are very few castles on the French Riviera so this is interesting).

Then, I also like Tourrettes-sur-Loup, a small town very original full of beautiful streets and flowers.

Something you particularly like about your city and region, and that can be found only there ?

I love the very healthly local food as well as the light of the region and its exceptional landscapes ! I also enjoy sitting on a terrace in a square of a small village, watching people and talking to local pensioners (they are so lonely that they are always happy to have a little chat) ; I like to ask them about the history and anecdotes of their villages.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

Reading books about my region, learning new things and exploring new places (for example, I recently discovered an organic farm, and I think to go there as soon as I will have a day off).

To you, what does it mean to be a resident of the French Riviera?

French Riviera residents are proud of their region and they love to show it. They are friendly, always smiling, a little exuberant: they talk a lot and do a lot of gestures, maybe too many sometimes 🙂 they like to be loud in a positive way.

What are your favorite dishes and local products?

I love mediterranean fish and seafood (anchovies, sea bass, sea bream), all incredible tomato varieties that can be found today, the chard pie, the rosé wine and the pastis well chilled as an aperitif (is a drink made of anise and licorice). The cuisine here is very rich because it has taken the best of the two sides: the Liguria (region of the Italian Riviera) and the Provence with its vegetables gorged with sun.



Day tour in the French Riviera Painters’ history including an art class

With: Sylvie
Duration: 1 day

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