Green France: Michelin’s Green Star

Green France: Michelin’s Green Star

Eco-tourism and green living in France is endlessly evolving – our regular column brings you the latest news and tourism developments. In this column, we’ll look at smart tourism, electric bikes and four Michelin Green Star restaurants.

Sustainable and Smart

Bordeaux, the capital of Gironde and epicentre of the most reputable winemaking region in the world (discuss!), is the European Capital of Smart Tourism for 2022. The Smart Tourism initiative recognises outstanding achievements by European cities as tourism destinations in four categories: sustainability, accessibility, digitalisation and cultural heritage and creativity. This EU-wide scheme aims “to promote smart tourism in the EU, network and strengthen destinations, and facilitate the exchange of best practices”.

Bordeaux is the European Capital of Smart Tourism for 2022 © Nicolas Duffaure

The Bordeaux region boasts 7,000 châteaux and was at the forefront of the creation of the “wine tourism” concept: two million “wine tourists” visited its vineyards in 2018 and 65% of the vineyards’ surface area have received certification for their environmental efforts. The city itself is also seriously green, with four tramlines (100% disabled access) and Darwin, an amazing urban ecosystem located on the city’s right bank. This “eco-rehabilitated” former military barracks offers a skate park, a Bric à Brac Emmaüs second-hand store and much more. Keep abreast of news and events at

Highway Robbery

Julien Bayou, National Secretary of leading French ecology party Europe Écologie les Verts (EELV), has called for an end to the “racket” contracts between the State and motorway management companies who collect péage tolls. He also called for changing toll rates according to the level of pollution or the income level of users.

Recycled Cycles

Launched in December 2021, Montpellier company Cycloe has begun converting mechanical bikes into electric ones. They dismantle the bottom bracket and pedals and install a pedal motor to drive the chain – all fed by a battery fixed to the bike frame. Prices from €889.

Totem Start-up

A Gard start-up, L’Atelier Organique, is revolutionising urban greenery with standalone “totems” – a “modular landscaping solution” that houses plants and lighting wherever tree planting has become impossible. A solar panel generates its own electricity, while the large water reserve automatically irrigates the plants and flowers.

An Eco Tale

Actress and director Mélanie Laurent is well known in France for her commitment to the environment and now she has written a children’s book on the subject. Les larmes d’Eugénie (Eugenie’s Tears) is an ecological tale aimed at making children aware of the problems of overfishing, which is so damaging to marine ecosystems.

Les Yourtes des Jardins de la Borie in Aveyron is affiliated with the Acceuil Paysan scheme © Jardins de la Borie

Accommodation: A Country Welcome

You know what they say – country folk are more friendly. Which is why the French organisation Accueil Paysan, launched back in 1987, is so successful, and why it has become a benchmark for anyone seeking an authentic country break.

The network of farmers and rural businesses committed to “peasant” agriculture and sustainable, fair and solidarity-based tourism currently has 900 members in France and 300 members in 32 countries. The headquarters of the association is in Grenoble.

Of course, the transaction is two-way – your visit enables farmers to make a decent living on their land and also to thus contribute to local development. To find a rural retreat to suit your needs – from accommodation, eating options and farm products to visits/animations, explore the website. We especially love the search function by product, which reveals the best places to buy everything from snails to saffron.

Be a Frontrunner

It is clear that consumers’ adoption of sustainable behaviour in tourism has been growing over recent years, and research by the European Travel Commission has shown that the global pandemic has driven more sustainable travel trends. But are you what they define as a Frontrunner (most altruistic); one of the Comfortable Crowd (habitual low-footprint travellers), or a laggard (habitual high-footprint traveller)?

Ona, Arès

Change For the Better: Eat Your Greens

If you wish to adopt a greener approach to your visits to France, but seek an ecological commitment from restaurants, keep an eye out for Michelin’s Green Star, created in 2020. Here are four of our favourites…

Ona, Arès

Claire Vallée’s pioneering Michelin-starred vegan restaurant. Alas ONA (Origine Non Animale) announced a temporary closure on January 6, 2022 due to staffing issues, but watch this space. Ona is temporarily closed.

La Mirande, Avignon

Sample Green Star gourmet delights in a room where, in the 14th century, the cardinals treated the popes to dinner, or the restaurant’s garden adjacent to the impressive walls of the Pope’s Palace.

La Table de Nazère, Avezan

Valérie and Antoine source the finest produce from market and land – foie gras, poultry, garlic from Lomagne, melons from Lectoure, Armagnac and regional wines…

Serge Vieira, Chaudes-Aigues

With its stunning location at the medieval Château de Couffour in Cantal, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes, Serge Vieira’s dining experience is all about simplicity and authenticity. 

From France Today magazine

Lead photo credit : La Table de Nazère, Avezan

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  •  Jim Thomas
    2023-05-12 12:44:37
    Jim Thomas
    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your article about Michelin's Green Star and the growing emphasis on sustainability in France's hospitality industry. It's truly encouraging to see the recognition and promotion of eco-friendly practices in the renowned Michelin Guide. The introduction of the Green Star category is a significant step forward in highlighting establishments that prioritize environmental responsibility alongside culinary excellence. It showcases the commitment of Michelin to support and celebrate businesses that go above and beyond to minimize their impact on the environment. France's rich cultural heritage and diverse landscapes make it a popular destination for travelers worldwide. It's wonderful to see that this allure is now being combined with sustainable tourism practices. By promoting accommodations that focus on energy efficiency, waste reduction, and the use of organic and local products, Michelin is not only shaping the future of the hospitality industry but also inspiring other establishments to follow suit. Furthermore, the collaboration between Michelin and Green Globe to develop sustainable criteria for the Green Star is a commendable effort. By setting clear guidelines and standards, they provide a framework for businesses to implement eco-friendly practices and continuously improve their environmental performance. The fact that several of the Green Star recipients are housed in historic buildings further demonstrates that sustainability can be seamlessly integrated into diverse architectural contexts. It shows that the preservation of heritage and environmental stewardship can go hand in hand, creating a harmonious balance between the past and the future. Michelin's Green Star initiative serves as an inspiration for travelers seeking both exceptional gastronomic experiences and a commitment to sustainability. It encourages us all to make conscious choices that contribute to the well-being of our planet. I hope that this recognition will motivate more establishments in France and beyond to adopt environmentally friendly practices, fostering a more sustainable and responsible tourism industry. Thank you for shedding light on Michelin's Green Star and the growing emphasis on sustainability in France's accommodation sector. It's an exciting development that brings hope for a greener future in the realm of haute cuisine and travel.