I am still in disbelief we only recently discovered Global Greeters Network. While we were in Montilliers, France, we came across their online information while looking for things to do in the area. From their website we learned GGN is a group of volunteer greeters around the world who provide FREE tours of their local city. Yes, your read that correctly – A free tour with a local.
As we read more, we discovered they had greeters based in Angers, which was about a 40 minute drive from our location. I filled out their easy online form which asked for our name, contact information, language of choice and a description of what type and length of a tour we preferred. Within 24 hours we received an email from the local GGN affiliate confirming our schedule date, time and meeting point.
We asked for a general tour of the hidden gems in Angers. We already had plans to visit the castle and museums on our own and wanted to see the places the locals frequented. Our greeters were Antoine and Janna from Angers Loire Greeters. Antoine grew up in the Angers area, and Janna is a student in the area. We felt the combination of the two provided us lots of historical information along with a good mix of the beloved and the trendy places to visit in Angers. We liked how each saw the town a bit differently and were both able to bring something different on how to see Angers.
Our tour lasted about 3 hours, and we covered a lot within the old and new city around the river. Each GGN tour is designed around your requests or interests, so be clear and upfront as to what you want to do and see. If you are unsure of what you are looking for, your greeter can assist with suggestions and work with you to create a list of places of interest. Please remember the greeters are volunteers and are doing this because they love their city and want to share it with others. They are not tour guides who know every inch and detail of every location nor are they your servant to make sure your every whim is taken care of. Instead, think of the experience more similar to hanging out with an acquaintance who has lent you his/her time to show you the city.
I admit we were skeptical at first and went into our experience with zero expectations. Antoine and Janna both pleasantly surprised us and turned us into huge GGN supporters. We are looking forward to meeting other GGN volunteers in the future. One of our favorite things about travel is meeting and learning from locals. Global Greeters Network is a perfect fit for us, and you, to do just that. Of course, each location and each experience will be different but that is all part of the fun of traveling – discovering new places in new ways.
4 out of 5 Travelationship High Fives. Any and all types of travelers should try a tour with GGN. Unfortunately, GGN does not have locations in every city (although, they continue to grow). In some areas language may be a barrier. Be sure to state your language of choice when filling out your online request form.