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Exploring Thionville’s History and Heritage with Guide Pierre Ciccia: From WWII Liberation to Contemporary Developments

Before talking about the history of the city, what is yours?

Pierre Ciccia : “I am a former career soldier. I notably worked at the recruitment office in Montigny-lès-Metz. In 2007, on April 30 to be exact, I became a guide following a meeting with Manuela Capanna, director of the Thionville Tourist Office. I have a passion for history and I have trained extensively to ensure this dating profession. »

What place do you give to these Heritage Days?

“This is a very important moment for me and for the city. I never missed a single one of these appointments. Visitors come in numbers and they are very surprised by the architectural diversity of Thionville. Here, we find elements of art nouveau, art deco, gothic art styles, etc. One of the visits is devoted to the urbanization of the city at the time of the German annexation. The legacy of this period is particularly striking. »

The municipality is pursuing a territorial marketing policy to popularize Thionville. Have you noticed an influx of tourists in recent years?

” Yes. We already receive a lot of French people from outside the region. Some have also done their military service in the area. They can see the new face of this magnificent pedestrian heart. Afterwards, we have foreign tourists: according to our statistics, the most numerous are Germans, then come Belgians, Luxembourgers and Anglo-Saxons. The latter are more and more numerous. »

What has been the most emotional moment of your career so far?

“I experienced it in 2008. A grandfather, accompanied by his daughter and son-in-law, walked through the door of the Tourist Office. He was Australian and had participated in the liberation of Thionville in 1944! This very old man sat down in a chair. We presented him with period photos, the photos that we kept from that period. A magnificent memory, very poignant. »

And the most surprising moment?

“I came across a very funny and teasing group. As I showed them the Flea Tower, one of the emblems of our city, they all started scratching frantically. In these cases, it’s difficult to remain serious. »

What annoys you the most about your job?

“Visitors who talk while I present a place. And I can assure you that this is not an attitude reserved only for young people. I still remember these two retired ladies who couldn’t care less about the visit. I had to stop the discovery so they understood that their chatter was not appropriate. »

The mayor has made the construction of new housing one of the cornerstones of his mandate. Couldn’t a course dedicated to a more contemporary Thionville see the light of day?

« (laugh) Oh yes, why not! I really like going with my groups to the new footbridge. We have a magnificent view of both banks, of the Moselle and of the new buildings emerging from the ground. »

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