English, French

The tours I do:

Grand Tour, Food Tours, Bury Your Dead, private city tour on board of a small vehicle (2-6 people) Private city tour on board of a bus, Private country side tours. Plus students tours.

My favourite anecdote:

During my very first private tour, a six-year-old girl was keen to meet the princess who must surely dwell in Chateau Frontenac. Lesson number one: never, ever mention the word 'princess' when speaking of the Chateau to a six year old girl.

She still had the surprise of her life when she was received by two princesses in full gowns, in one of the great stairs of the Chateau. (A few years ago, the Chateau used to offer tours with guides in period costumes who immediately pretended to be princesses.) You should have seen her eyes! And those of her dad! Lesson number two: A guide must have a certain sense of improvisation.

Travel experiences:

I have been involved for years in the management of youth hostel networks. This allowed me to travel to England, Germany, Australia, South Korea, France, the United States, Mexico and in every province of Canada.

Before being a guide:

I was born very young. In fact, I must have fallen into youth when I was little. That would explain how I was involved in the management of the Quebec City youth hostel where I was CEO for more than ten years. And how I am still a volunteer member of its Board of Directors. Thus I welcomed thousands of young travelers to Quebec City. I am also passionate about history and Old Quebec where I used to live.

Why did I become a guide:

'Too sedentary' said my doctor. 'A little exercise would do you much good'. I do not like the gym so, if I was to walk, it might as well be it in good company. And then I found there was in each tour a sort of showmanship that reminded me, once in a while, of my training in theater!

In my tours, I like to insist on:

It all depends on the type of tour, of course. 'Specialized' tours (Food Tour, Bury Your Dead) impose content; then it's all in the delivery and I try to maximize the experience of the participants. They are the ones that make a tour successful. Walking tours leave more room for interpretation. Usually I briefly touch on aspects of urban development, military history, architecture. Mention is made of the role of First Nations and especially of the different perception that we now have of our common history.

I address very little religious history because I avoid as much as possible topics of religion and politics. I prefer to challenge participants to go beyond their traditional view of History to find, during their visit to Quebec 'their own historical truth', the memory they will take home once they have forgotten everything else.

A book I recommend:

Québec ville assiégée 1759-1760 by Jacques Lacoursière and Hélène Quimper