Le Guide du Routard celebrates its 50th anniversary

Le Guide du Routard has helped people to travel differently for 50 years now

The origin story

It all started in 1971, with Philippe Gloaguen who hitchhiked all the way from Paris to India with nothing but his backpack and a few francs in his pocket. A six-page spread covering his adventure in the magazine Actuel was a big hit with readers.

Its success kindled the idea to write a travel guide, which quite a few publishers turned down before Hachette turned it into a book in 1975. Gloaguen’s love of travel, passion for sharing his knowledge with others and his constant flow of new ideas have contributed to the enduring success of Le Guide du Routard over the years.

A new take on travel

The first Guide du Routard was a revolution in the world of tourism. It democratized travel by sharing itineraries and tips on what to visit and where to eat and stay. It led travellers to embrace a new understanding of the journey and encouraged them to see the world at a time when airfare was unaffordable and most tourists were so afraid of the unknown that they preferred package tours.

This new, laidback way of travelling infused with humanist values was an instant hit. Le Routard earned must-have status in the bags of many travellers, and in 1994 it became the number one travel guide collection in France, Belgium and Switzerland.

Continuous innovation

Le Guide du Routard has never stopped innovating. In 2001, with support from Hachette, the guide launched its website routard.com, which today boasts the largest community of French-speaking travellers in the world. A pioneer in the field of responsible tourism, Le Routard published its first Guide Tourisme Durable (Sustainable Tourism Guide) in 2008, and continued along the same lines by adding the “Pas de côté” (“Off the beaten path”) section to help travellers eschew mass tourism. During the pandemic, Le Routard adapted by encouraging French people to (re)discover France. A year later, Le Routard began publishing a quarterly magazine, where it continues to combine tourism and art de vivre to promote a different perspective on the world and its treasures.

A deeply human adventure

The 50th anniversary of Le Routard is also the perfect opportunity to celebrate Philippe Gloaguen and his teams, whose passion and dedication has always played a key role in bringing the guides to life. The guide’s writers stay up to date on the latest market trends and reader expectations. Four or five field researchers spend several months in the field to create a guide. To provide quality, up-to-date content, the team prioritizes letters from readers and updates each guide several times a year.

Le Routard embodies the values of independence, exploration, respect and cultural exchange which Philippe Gloaguen and his team reaffirm year after year with strength, conviction and talent. Hachette Livre is proud to have been Le Routard’s publisher for nearly half a century.