Visitors gradually found their way back to the Espace Bernadette in Nevers this summer

“We didn’t work that badly. We haven’t returned to the situation before covid. Things have changed”. When taking stock of the summer’s participation, Christophe Goubier, director of Espace Bernadette, plays the positive card.

If the distant foreigners, from e.g. Argentina or the Philippines, has yet to reappear?; “they should come back, maybe within two years”, assesses Christophe Goubier?; on the other hand, tourists from France and European neighbors have found the doors to Espace Bernadette.

premium Espace Bernadette in Nevers will diversify its activities to cope with the lack of visitors

He is quite sure of the numbers that should come out at the end of the Espace Bernadette season at the end of October. “We should be around 120,000, 130,000 visitors. It is going very seriously. In two years we should find the 200,000 usual visitors. That gives us courage.

We go to things as needed. We have a bit of SNCF at the moment. Many professionals ask us for rooms

The resumption of pilgrimages to Lourdes is beneficial for Espace Bernadette. “The ties have become closer. We will once again be a stage on the pilgrimage route”.

Before resuming regular visits, these new visitor habits forced the Espace Bernadette team to “reposition”. An example?? During work at the administrative restaurant Agora (rue Charles-Roy), public service employees can come and have lunch without reservation at Espace Bernadette, i.e. 50 to 80 meals a day. Everything is framed in an agreement signed between the prefecture and Espace Bernadette.

The structure assumes colors

The three employees of Agora are integrated into the ranks of Espace Bernadette during the four months of work. “We approach things as needed. We have a bit of SNCF at the moment. Many professionals ask us for rooms”.

If the structure recovers “little by little, we have to wait for it to pick up financially. We have to resume the recruitment mechanisms. People who are flexible”. Concerns continue at this level, “in the hotel and restaurant industry, we wait really”.

Two receptionist positions and two table service positions are available. “People here, we can train them. Boosting them, we can do that. Regardless of the position here, we pay attention to ensuring that there is a real project for everyone”.

A garden of 3,000 m²

The garden project, which will make it possible to produce herbal tea and jam, has progressed well. 3,000 m² will be cultivated for fragrant, aromatic and medicinal plants.

“We are in the Ecocert certification phase. This will allow us to sell the products directly. I hope that at the end of the year it will be good”. The solidarity vegetable garden should also be resumed. “We have created a brand for all our products: Les Secrets de Bernadette”. A logo, divided by color and category, will identify these products.

Christophe Goubier’s eyes are on the 2023 season. “We have to start getting organised”. The idea of ​​installing wooden plaques where people could engrave their name “with a hole, to appropriate the place” begins to take shape.

Student housing. Espace Bernadette has two accommodations for shared students: Saint-Michel shelter with 11 places, which is full, and Les Framboisiers, which is also full. “It’s a great success,” notes Christophe Goubier.

Little growl. Christophe Goubier is irritated by the behavior of certain visitors, “some people become intransigent and want to be alone to pray in the chapel”.

25th hour. On Saturday 29 October during the time change and overtime, the bells ring at A torch train should be proposed.

Gwenola Champalaune

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