Recounting escapades on the radio, without showing them, isn't it a little frustrating for you who travel the world with your eyes wide open?
No, I'm even very happy to do that because I love to tell stories. The encounters that one can make while traveling the world constitute an infinite breeding ground for precisely telling stories. The real challenge of this radio show is to make people dream and work on the imagination. We devote the first part to the regions of France by meeting people in love with their region and the second to the world. Radio is a great tool for stimulating the imagination. So I think you can travel without having the image. Eyes closed. This is all the better as we are intervening after a period when many people were locked in their homes. Everyone needs to dream!
The pandemic appears to be a turning point for the use of airplanes and therefore for tourism. What does it change for you?
That necessarily changes a lot of things because we do not now know where we will be able to turn, when the borders will reopen and under what conditions we will be able to operate. We will try to travel by respecting all the rules without endangering anyone. Obviously, everything that tends to close countries does not inspire me much, because it is not by withdrawing into yourself that you are happier. Of course, aerial development harms the environment, but once again who will judge that one can move and not another… And I don't think that the selection by money, as it already happens on some sites, be a fair thing.
Will this health crisis make you want to discover France again?
I do think it will trigger things. The further we travel, the more we discover that France is an incredible country. There are not many countries in the world where, every 150 kilometers, you totally change the landscape, the cuisine, the accent. Always with exceptional beauty!
Your strength is to take us to places where mass tourism will never take place?
I don't position myself like that. We also report in popular places … I will never be the judge who decides who has the right to travel and who does not! So I confirm that we go everywhere, even where there are people. Through our reporting, the idea is to define how we are doing best in these places, actually perhaps trying to avoid the crowds, with the right tips at the right time. When we go to rarer places, my idea is to tell people "don't be afraid!" This is my little secret mission. With minimal care, not the world is scary. The hardest part is leaving your home. What I love most is discovering a place with the locals, at their own pace. Without ever taking their place.
Your desire to leave constantly, is that the translation of escaping the material realities of our world?
I admit that I am having a little trouble staying in place and that I am not very happy in confinement. I am about to travel 8 months out of 12. Without doing messy psychoanalysis, I think I am going to find out how people find happiness, how others do. Maybe because I haven't fully found it myself yet. It is an ongoing quest. I am happy when I felt like I understood how others were leading their lives, deep in Ethiopia for example, how they found their balance. By discovering this, I fill something in myself and I share with those who watch us this experience from the end of the world.
Never have there been so many shows about traveling, dating. How are you doing?
It’s a form of rhythm and it’s taking the time to surprise. I go to places with a primary desire to meet people, with a lot of improvisation. When I am on the trains, I do not put the passengers in the front cars… The idea is always to share a little moment of life and to find in their eyes the little flame that lights up when they evoke what makes them happy. I love to find the little secret of happiness in people, all around the world, even in countries where it is not easy. When I see someone deep in a virgin forest telling me they are happy, I feel like I have accomplished my mission.
What was your most beautiful emotion?
The emotion of the landscapes. I have my little top list with in first place the deserts of Namibia, among the purest in the world. Otherwise, I love Scotland! Beyond the landscape and the ambiance, it’s a sensation. This is one of the countries where I have sat and gazed the longest. On the Isle of Skye, I sat for five hours! It must come from stones and lights, but there is something mystical about this land. The imagination is working hard. I believe in dreams a lot, because as a Swiss yogi once told me, dreams rule the will. My DNA is the dream.
Do you have a real passion for the train?
Total! When I was a kid, in Franche-Comté, I loved going over a bridge at the bottom of my village, above the railway line. There was a long straight line stretching out into the distance. I always wondered what was next, and I told myself stories. I could stay there alone for hours. When I took the train early in the morning to go to school in the city, the train was a warm little cocoon, the extension of my bed. The train is a great way to meet people and dream about your destination. In this time of ecological transformation, it is the ideal form of transportation.
What makes the success of "old" shows like Shouldn't Dream or Trains like no other?
These are shows where you take the time to pay attention to each other. I put a lot of love into this job. My fault is that I am slow (laughs)! In our business, we have to go a little fast. I am a contemplative who loves slowness. When I arrive in a city, I stay there for a minimum of 4 or 5 days to understand how it is organized. I really think the secret to successful travel is time. If I went at my own pace, the shoots would last three months …
What would your dream of travel be like today?
I would like to go to space. The total Grail!
Journalist, television host and producer.