Theme 3 : Saint-Joseph, a territory of learning


Most visitors to the Deep South only see the coastal fringes of the region. And yet behind the coast lies a very diversified area, rich with distinct cultural identities nestling between the mountain peaks and deep valleys : a region which does not easily opens itself up to strangers.

Lying at the confluence of two rivers, Saint-Joseph offers the visitor varied and timeless scenery: “volcanic landscapes from the origins of the earth” as well as a rich green landscape with a wealth of fauna and flora. It is far from the banal, standard scenery that tourists have become accustomed to : here is a gateway to the volcano and the opportunity to encounter the locals, referred to on the island as the “yabs”.

Mass tourism is inconceivable here; accessibility and accommodation remain at times fairly basic, but always authentic. Nevertheless, structures integrating the local way of life and the natural environment are being developed and seem to have a bright future.

The idea of using and exploiting the scenery and rural know-how of the Deep South through culture-based projects is one possibility to help develop an adventurous form of tourism in the region.

Proposing cultural itineraries of discovery, which combine different topics, areas and periods, then structuring them into themed “caravans”, would open new fields of discovery as yet little investigated, and bring in extra income for local farmers, as well as allowing them to acquire new skills.

Far from the traditional forms of tourism, based on exploiting an area, the idea of exploring a territory might make it possible to set up a tourist industry based on solidarity, perhaps still more of a theoretical concept than an effective reality.



Three topics are proposed for the next European Rural University, which will take place on 7th, 8th and 9th September 2010 in Saint-Joseph :

- Europe at the service of the rural community and its inhabitants,
- Rural professions for women,
- Culture : between heritage and innovation.

16 November 2009