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Food: “the most beautiful reflection of Mougins”

Interview with Dominique Fantino, Director of Mougins’ Tourism Office

Rather than focusing on the sweet perfume of lavender and the song of the cicadas - clichés nonetheless appreciated by tourists in Provence - the charming village of Mougins decided to communicate differently to attract visitors. Since ten years, it is through food that Mougins managed to render itself famous, attracting more and more foreign tourists every year. Dominique Fantino, Director of Mougins’ Tourism Office, explained to us how.

le Jeudi 12 Novembre 2015 - What is the breakdown of foreign visitors in Mougins?

Dominique Fantino: “Foreign tourists account for half of our visitors. We receive 30% anglo-saxons, 10% Russians that are constantly on the rise, followed by the Italians, and the rest consists mostly of people from different European countries, the East especially.” - Through what means did you make cuisine one of Mougins’ primary centers of interest?

Dominique Fantino: “Ten years ago, we launched the first edition of Etoiles de Mougins. It is an international food festival that has become a reference in the world.

Over three days, the village of Mougins transforms into a large, open-air theater of food tastings, and welcomes the world’s most famous chefs who share with the general public their love for a common profession and passion, through cooking demonstrations and many tasting workshops.

Since the festival’s creation, we hosted 296 chefs, representing 412 Stars from the Michelin Guide, including 29 three star chefs, 28 invited countries, and 25,000 visitors per edition…

It is thanks to the festival that cuisine has become Mougins’ best reflection. Foreign tourists often come to discover the festival, then they end up falling in love with the village and region, and many come back every year.

We even launched editions of Etoiles de Mougins abroad, from Morocco to the United-States, and we are expecting to do one soon in Tokyo and Singapore. This allows for great synergy with several countries in the world and a powerful influx of tourists.” - During which period does Etoiles de Mougins take place?

Dominique Fantino: “Since its creation, the festival takes place mid-September, but starting the 2016 edition, it will take place in June.

The festival has just celebrated its 10 year anniversary and we wish to give it a bit of a makeover by incorporating concerts and shows. I believe that is it important to not rest on our laurels and to freshen up the concept while keeping our main focus on food.” - Are you taking on any other promotion operations of Mougins abroad through cuisine?

Dominique Fantino: “We are regularly invited to represent our destination and Etoiles de Mougins in different professional tourism trade-shows or food festivals throughout the world.

For example, we just got back from the International Food Festival of Brazil, where we were able to better sell our destination to a Brazilian clientele, thanks to our chefs’ demonstrations. Amongst other promotion operations to come, we will launch a cooking show in the streets of Picadilly in London, next March.

Our chefs will prepare verrines with a frog leg base and hand them out to the English. This should make a bit of a buzz since they like to call us “the frogs”! Finally, starting late November, Etoiles de Mougins is associating with the famous Parisian restaurant “Les Deux Magots,” very popular amongst foreign tourists, to turn it into a true gourmet destination.”

Food: “the most beautiful reflection of Mougins”

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