TELL US ABOUT AN UNUSUAL PLACE
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ABOUT THE PUBLISHER :
His first voyage led him to South America, where he spent 7 months backpacking, improving his Spanish, and discovering the world: Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile and Peru. He hitchhiked – and even “boat”-hiked – through these countries, covering more than 5,000 km (3100 miles). On his return to France, he completed his military service, preferring this option to the VSO. Thomas thus completed his infantry officer’s training at Montpellier before joining the 6th Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment (6thRPIMA, a regiment commanded by the famous General Bigeard) as a sub-lieutenant. When he finished his military service, Thomas bought a one-way ticket to Beijing and decided to make his way back to Paris by land: it was the beginning of an exceptional 7-month voyage. First he entered Tibet clandestinely hidden beneath blankets. Then, while hitchhiking, he was picked up by Chinese soldiers, who invited him to sleep in their barracks, which dotted the entire length of Tibet’s border with India. Next, he reached Kashgar and Chinese Turkestan after following a reputedly impassable road through the forbidden region of Aksai Chin. From there, he travelled to Pakistan where he received an extraordinary warm welcome, especially in the tribal zones that became so infamous after the events of September 2001. Thomas then left for India, where he learned the art of meditation before returning to Pakistan. After crossing through Balochistan, he arrived in Iran, where he stayed for one month. He then passed through Kurdistan, Turkey, Greece, Macedonia (he was the first foreigner to cross this border, since Macedonia, which had recently won its independence, had just opened its border to Greece), Albania, Italy, and Switzerland, before finally arriving at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris.
It was on his return that he wrote his first guidebook, Paris 300 lieux pour les curieux, with a friend before starting a job at Usinor as an export manager for South America. In 2000, in cooperation with Usinor, he founded an Internet-based steel company, working directly with Francis Mer (the former French Economy minister), to whom he provided a weekly report on the project’s progress. He then left for Brussels where he spent two years creating an Internet marketplace with Usinor’s competitors: Thyssen Krupp, Corus (formerly British Steel) and Arbed, which later merged with Usinor to become Arcelor.
At the end of his time in Brussels, Thomas set up his publishing company (Jonglez Publishing), specializing in travel guides featuring secret and unusual places. Preferring not to compete with existing guidebooks, he decided to adopt an original style, thus also creating a new type of guidebook: by definition, his are written by local residents and only present places not found in other guidebooks. The target audience is thus the residents themselves, who can discover or rediscover their city, as well as curious travelers who may already know the city or region.
The first guidebook he published was Bruxelles insolite et secret (Secret Brussels)(2003), and its success proved that the model worked. Thomas then released Marseille insolite et secret and set up a partnership with Michelin who distributed it throughout most of Europe.
When he left Brussels at the age of 32, Thomas also became Vice-President of strategy for Ugine & ALZ (6000 employees and a turnover of 5 billion euros), the largest of Arcelor’s stainless steel companies; being also a member of the Board of Directors. In late 2004, Thomas finally decided to leave Arcelor in order to devote all his time to his publishing company.
About a year later, he moved to Venice, Italy, where he continues to run Jonglez Publishing, which publishes guides and other books in six languages (English, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and Dutch). He recently published Secret Venice (May, 2010), a guide that required 5 years of field research.
By mail: 17 boulevard du Roi, 78000 Versailles, France
By e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
By telephone : +33 (0)1 39 51 09 87
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