“Well done Claire Foliot-Gd! After a successful career in the music industry (as a tour manager for Saravah), she founded and now manages MADAMECHAPEAU, a free social networking website that connects women who want to travel on their own. In a nutshell, you take turns being a hostess and a guest… Simple, not expensive, welcoming…”
Why did you set up this website?
The story began in Montmartre in 2010, when I started to rent my studio appartment to tourists as furnished accommodation.
Single women often came to visit. After exchanging several emails in order to make arrangements for the person’s stay, I had the impression that a friend was coming to visit. I would very often have lunch with the new arrival and help her make plans for the duration of her stay, but I was frustrated because my busy schedule wouldn’t allow me to do more. I said to myself: “There are women like me, like these single travellers around the world. Let’s forget the financial aspect, let’s visit one another, like penfriends used to do, in the spirit of hospitality”. Madamechapeau was born.
How does the website work?
My idea: “I host a visitor, and then I become a guest”. It’s a free website which puts women in contact who share the spirit of a madamechapeau, that is to say: friendship, conviviality, sharing and reciprocity. We have members in Quebec, Saint Pierre and Miquelon, Caen, Tours, Paris, etc. The website is completely free, I insist on that. Perhaps one day advertisers might be interested in funding my work, but it’s not an end in itself. I just want to revive the old-fashioned concept of penfriends, originally instigated by our teachers, using the magic tool of the internet.
What should those who are interested do in concrete terms?
In order to respond to an advertisement on the website, you need to be registered yourself, since it’s a matter of reciprocity. First, you register on the site. Then, if you are interested in an advertisement, you can send me an email to ask me to put you in contact with that person, which I do by email, by giving each of you the other’s email address. The rest is up to you. Only the madamechapeaus can decide; and if there is not a good feeling between them, they can stop there, there’s no commitment.