Paris  Personal Tours

And, as it is written at the back of those cards, it is they which also enable us to enter for free inside any national museum. So, to check if the person you hired is an official guide, if that person doesn't wear his/her card/badge, you can check to see his/her legitimacy by looking at what he/she shows at the entrance of the museum. At the Louvre for instance, if he/she shows the same ticketas you or an "ami du Louvre/friend of the Louvre" card (which is like a cheap yearly subscription), it says it all... The Louvre is not only the biggest and most visited museum in the world (10.2 million visitors in 2018), it's also sadly the museum where you can find the most fake guides in. I just had to let you know.

Thank you for having made the effort to read all this if you're still here! Otherwise, click on the Camembert if you still have time to spare and you're interested to read fun/sad facts about fake guides and fake Camemberts...

Our media keeps telling us that France is the most visited country in the world: 89 million visitors in 2017 and 2018 (for a local population of 67 million). And the government aimed at 100 million visitors a year in 2020 (before Covid). Even though it's a wild guess, our government estimates that tourism brings in 160 billion Euros annually, which represents 7% of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and generates between 1.3 and 2 million jobs (including mine). No matter how airy-fairy those estimations are, one thing is for sure: tourism is the first income of this country, but professionals like me don't get a sympathetic ear from the government because nobody really cares. Their only concern is that millions of tourists will come and spend as much money as possible in our hotels, restaurants, museums and deluxe shops so that business-owners pay more taxes and our economical balance doesn't look too bad at the end of the year.

In France, the profession of touristic guide is supposed to be officially regulated: one must have a special guiding license delivered by the French Ministry of Culture in order to be allowed to guide INSIDE all museums and national monuments (for walking tours, shopping tours or food tours no license is required).

Travel operators would never dare to circumvent the law by using non-State-licensed-Tourist-Guides (so we thankfully still have the business of tour groups) but, as so many individuals nowadays travel on their own and book their guided tours by themselves (hey, aren't you looking for one?), there are so many new companies/platforms and individuals today who see individual tourists like you as misinformed "easy to fool" targets that we, professional guides all over Europe, have been demonstrating for several years now to try to get the attention of the authorities about this. We have been mostly unsuccesfull so far because, again, the government doesn't really care if you get someone qualified or not: all they want is that there are more self-employed drivers and fake guides because that supposedly reduces the numbers of unemployed people in general and only that "disguised reality" can serve their politics. Let's face it: the main problem is that tourists don't vote! Even though they officially outnumber us!

All we official guides want is to protect our profession so that you get someone legal and qualified to give you your money's worth when you visit. Is that such a bad thing?

Your guide inside any national museum is required by law to wear at all times an Official Badge and/or a Professional Identity Card which must bear the official government logo.

For example, as far as I am concerned, I need to wear this card when I'm guiding:

For your information, only another card is legit, and it's this one:

(WARNING: this is maybe a little bit boring, but it's something you should know for your own good)

On why you should hire an officially-licensed-guide