Most travelers will agree that the best way to know a place/a town/ a country is by talking to and getting to know the locals.
The “Greeters” associations all over the world do just this!
The “Greeters” movement was born in New York in 1992 at the initiative of a group of new yorkers, lead by Lynn Brooks, who wanted to endow their city with a more welcoming image.
In two decades the greeters concept has spread all over the world. France is not an exception and has many “greeters” associations.
Before going further you might wonder what exactly IS a greeter? Greeters are volunteers who love their own town, city, region, are willing to spend 2 or 3 hours at a time with tourists – from their own country or from other countries – and to share with them – free of charge! – their knowledge and attachment to the place they lives in, generally in their native tongue but (in France) in many cases also in English. A greeter is a casual, local tourist guide!
Bellow are some south west of France greeters associations web sites.
For world wide greeters infos go to: globalgreeternetwork.info and greeterweb.com
Meeting locals from your next travel destination – willing to spend time with you, the tourist, and even to provide accommodation – is also the goal of a new free Facebook application called tint.travel. The application requires only a facebook account and a destination city!
Another cool idea is to actually live in a local house while traveling, and this is exactly the concept behind the trustedHouseSitters.com – a web site that features many opportunities for house sitting in France.