French Federation of Licensed Tourist Guides - FNGIC

10 Things to Know about Féderation Nationale des Guides Interprétes et Conférenciers

1. What year was the FNGIC established and where are the headquarters?

The “Fédération Nationale des Guides Interprètes et Conférenciers” or French Federation of Licensed Tourist Guides (FNGIC), was founded in 1981. The headquarters is in Paris.

2. What is the primary mission/goal of the FNGIC?

The members of FNGIC are licensed guides from all of France. The Federation’s main goal is to fight for quality professional training. The FNGIC is the contact and point of reference for tourism authorities such as the Ministry of Culture, Tourism Ministries and Offices, museums and monuments.

FNGIC guide Aude Deboaisne, at Pompidou Centre © FNGICFNGIC guide Aude Deboaisne, at Pompidou Centre © FNGIC

3. How does someone become a qualified guide in France?

Mainly through a University degree. The studies comply with European standards NF EN 15565 Tourism services. The European Standard sets out the requirements for tourist guide training and qualification.

The program includes practical sessions, theory, methodology and other relevant subjects.

Candidates with higher education degrees (relevant Masters’ level studies) or with proven work experience in the tourism sector, can get their qualifications validated to become tourist guides. These applications are examined individually, and the French authorities deliver (or not) the official id-card.

4. After becoming qualified, what are some of the professional development classes that guides typically take in France to enhance their knowledge and skills?

Several courses on history, art and heritage are available. The School of the Louvre and other institutions propose and run these courses. The FNGIC organizes in-depth visits for its members and trips to explore different regions of France.

5. Is there an official badge that qualified tourist guides in France wear? If yes, describe the badge and include an image

The official ID card is produced by the Ministry of Culture. To obtain the ID card, the candidate needs to provide University certificate(s) and copies of the certified language diploma(s) on European standard levels. Specialized training (sign language for example) can also be mentioned in the card by submitting the proof of relevant training.

The card includes languages, photo, signature, name, date and place of birth, nationality and date of issue.

6. How many qualified tourist guides are members of FNGIC and what are their diverse backgrounds? Also, how many languages do they guide in, and do they specialize in themed tours?

There are 1335 members of FNGIC and 42 languages are offered. Each member has a personal page in the FNGIC website . The directory on the site can be accessed by language/name/region/special request.


7. What are some of the top reasons for using a qualified tourist guide in France?

Education following European Standards, high level of training and quality control are some of the reasons for using qualified tourist guides. In addition, qualified tourist guides have priority access to some museums and monuments.

No unqualified guide can conduct a visit inside monuments and state museums, for this reason the official ID card must be worn and visible during the visit.

Some monuments require additional quality controls and award professional tourist guides with special stickers in recognition.

FNGIC member guide, Noha Escartin, on walking tour © FNGIC FNGIC member guide, Noha Escartin, on walking tour

8. What are some of the popular places to visit in France?

France is a big country and the visitors can experience a lot of different activities. Paris is world-known for its beauty and some places are more must-see destinations than others: the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre museum, the Palace of Versalles, to name a few of the “highlights”. However, each neighbourhood in Paris invites visitors to explore it: street Art on the XIIIth district, Artists on the XVIIIth, jazz on the VIth, the Jewish quarter on the IVth, Medieval architecture in the center of Paris…

The Loire Valley boasts more than 1000 castles. Besides history you can do sports such as canoeing or bicycling from one castle to another.

Mont St Michel, one of France’s many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, has fascinated its visitors from the middle ages until today.

Themed tours such as: WWI, WWII, religious tourism, wine/champagne tastings, winter sports in the Alps and the sunny south of Provence and the French Riviera are also popular choices.

France is the most popular tourist destination in the world for a good reason.

9. What are some general tips you would give to potential visitors planning a vacation to France?

Our visitors should spend at least 3 nights in Paris to be able to see all the important sites. As mentioned before, by using a qualified tourist guide you can get skip the entry line to museums such as Orsay or Louvre. This is just an added advantage because a visit of a museum with a qualified guide is a totally different experience; and remember: always ask your guide questions!

The railway network works very well and travelling in France is easy, quick and pleasant with modern high-speed trains (TGV).

Day trips to a cathedral, Monet’s house and gardens, a beach in Normandy, Reims town and the champagne region are easily achievable .

Further south the Provence region has wonderful climate, the loveliest lavender fields, and Roman ruins. Close-by on the Camargue region you can enjoy beautiful landscapes.

Another region worth exploring is Burgundy, where you can combine history (Medieval abbeys) and wine tasting. This region is UNESCO listed for its “exceptional weather for wine production”.

Let us not forget that France is famous for its gastronomy and all specialties are worth a try!

10. Where can potential visitors to France find out more information about FNGIC and also find a qualified tourist guide?

The FNGIC (French Federation of Licensed Tourist Guides) website includes the list of qualified guides. Guides can be contacted individually and can work to your time and theme requirements. Some guides have their own personal website and can propose more specialist tours.

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