Bernard Pichon: “Journeys form the “youth”!”

old man enjoying view

Martine Bernier

Health journalist, editor-in-chief

April 25, 2021

Bernard Pichon is a Swiss journalist, writer, and producer. He has been active since the 70s. Hosting various TV and radio shows, he has quickly become a fan favorite. When he got to 55 years of age, he decided to leave all of that behind and travel around the world. He’s also kept doing that ever since. Bernard notices that professional travelling is not really profitable though, so you have to be financially sound in order for this to work, and he considers himself privileged. Pichon also created a website “Pichon Voyageur” (www.pichonvoyageur.ch), where he summarises his travels for everyone to read!

Want to learn more? Keep reading the article by Matine Bernier.

A Swiss journalist, writer and producer for radio, television and the press, Bernard Pichon has been a favourite of RTS since the 1970s, hosting such well-known programmes as “Les Oiseaux de Nuit” and “Jardins divers”, as well as children’s programmes such as “Blanche et Gaspard” and “Dodu Dodo”, and “La ligne de Coeur” and “Salut Les P’tits Loups” on radio. A former columnist for Michel Drucker, he interviewed the biggest stars with empathy and relevance that earned him the favour and loyalty of the French-speaking public.

At the turn of the year 2000, he was 55 years old when he decided to take a new direction: “I always thought it was necessary to leave before the public got bored. As I chose to work as a freelancer, I didn’t need a boss’ permission to take a new direction. I finished ‘The Heart Line’ and then I left. I would have liked to continue in radio for some time, but it was becoming clear that I had to make room for young people. In my life, I never really had time to travel. I had professional and family obligations that prevented me from doing so. So I decided to take advantage of this fresh freedom to do something new!

That’s how Bernard Pichon began his new life, trading in his costume of light for that of a globe-trotter. Since then, invited by the cultural attachés of embassies, tour operators or tourist offices, he has travelled the world at a rate of three trips per month and discovered it without ever losing his mischievous and observant eye.

He has been a professional traveller for fifteen years now, but he recognises that this kind of activity is not really profitable: “It is clear that it is not possible to make a living from it if you need money to make ends meet! To do this kind of thing, you have to be financially sound. I consider myself privileged. I have regular partners who take articles about my travels. I know that journalists who do this are suspected of being ‘sell-outs’, automatically praising the places they are invited to. I have always I’ve been very clear with this in safeguarding my editorial freedom. I’m a pretty good customer: other characters than mine would look for the smallest beast. For my part, even if I don’t write geopolitical articles, I feel entitled, at the end of certain subjects, to close with a sentence that confirms that I am not fooled. In Tunisia, for example, I once ended an article by pointing out that the hotel masseur was as muscular as the political regime then in place!”

In addition to the articles he publishes in various newspapers and magazines, Bernard Pichon has also created a website “Pichon Voyageur” (www.pichonvoyageur.ch) in which he summarises his travels in short videos classified by theme or by continent. A treat commented with the same elegance and rigour he has shown throughout his career. Internet users will find good plans and ideas for their next holiday.

When you ask him which of the countries he visited touched him the most, this specialist explains that it all depends on the angle approached: “Is it on a cultural, gastronomic or nature level? Having said that, I admit to a preference for Burma, which, in my eyes, is the most touching from all points of view. When I discovered this country, the empire of the dictatorship that reigned there was beginning to be less strong. The Burmese people were gradually coming out of their confinement. This country has magnificent landscapes and sites, without a Hilton on the horizon! And, above all, we meet extraordinary people. In the most remote countryside, people have nothing, but give it to you… For me, the outcome of a trip is always closely linked to the encounters you have there.

Today, wherever he goes in the world, there is always someone who recognises Bernard Pichon and greets him with a “Where is our travelling Pichon going today? He smiles, touched to see that the public has kept its sympathy for him!

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