Yves Planchon, the essential driver of the little summer tourist train in Mende, is back

Yves Planchon, the essential driver of the little summer tourist train in Mende, is back

Yves Planchon has been the driver of the little tourist train in Mende for almost 20 years. Midi Libre – Anaïs Da Silva

For almost twenty years, Yves Planchon has been the driver of the little tourist train in Mende. Summer 2024 is his last summer aboard the cabin before the activity is taken over by the public service.

Who says summer vacation, says return of the little tourist train in the streets of Mende! Even if the weather is not good, the train has already resumed service. "For the past two weeks, I have been going back and forth between the schools in the prefecture town and Mende-plage in order to drop them off, explains& ;nbsp;Yves Planchon, driver of the little tourist train for almost 20 years. They are always happy when they hear the bell ring. They love the train and I enjoy working surrounded by these young people."But this afternoon of Thursday July 4, 2024 marked his last meeting with the children before devoting himself solely to tourist activity.

Practical information

It is possible to visit the town of Mende near the little tourist train from Monday to Friday at several times: 11 a.m., 3 p.m. , 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. "If there is a lot of influence, we can add schedules", underlines Yves Planchon. Places to be taken at the Mende Cœur de Lozère tourist office. Prices: adult and child over 12 years old, 2 euros; child from 8 years to 12 years, 1 € ; child – 8 years old, free.

Visit of monuments in a good mood

Departing from Place du Foirail, the tour, lasting around thirty minutes, passes along Boulevard Bourrillon, at Place au Blé, enters the heart of the city to then follow the banks of the Lot and return to the Place Urbain-V. "I introduce them to the historic monuments of the city, such as the Tour des Pénitents, the cathedral, Place Chaptal, explains the conductor in detail.< em> I tell them the story of Mende in a good mood, I laugh with them."

Even if there are currently not many tourists around the train, they are not the only ones who can enjoy it. Locals also choose this option to visit the prefectural town of Lozère. "There are people from Mende who have already told me that they don't really know Mende, its heritage and its streets", remembers the former craftsman and volunteer firefighter with a smile.

His arrival at the controls of the train

His arrival as a driver is not trivial. It all starts from his professional background. "I was, at the time, the president of the festival committee. We were responsible for guarding the train, he emphasizes. Then, I was offered this opportunity to ;to be behind the wheel of this vehicle which is 30, even 35 years old now. And, since a heavy goods vehicle and coach license is necessary, I was the only one who could take care of it."

The essential driver of the little tourist train awaits tourists and locals to share with them his last summer at the wheel of these three wagons. "Next year, I’stop, regrets Yves Planchon. This activity will be taken over by the public service."

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