Green France: Ecotourism News and Holidays
Eco-tourism in France is endlessly evolving – our new column brings you the latest developments to make your vacances a green dream.
Great Gardens off the Chart
As the firm grip of Covid restrictions was slowly relinquished last year, France’s parks and gardens really came into their own, proving a vital boon for visitors’ mental health and general wellbeing. By the time summer was in full bloom, French gardening website La Pause Jardin set out to discover which were the most highly rated, using comprehensive analysis of Google and TripAdvisor reviews, Instagram hashtags, Facebook likes, and average monthly search volumes. The ‘big guns’ did well, with Versailles claiming top spot, and the Jardin du Luxembourg and Jardin des Tuileries, both in Paris, closely behind to clinch second and third places respectively. Musée Christian Dior, Fondation Claude Monet, Le Phare de Chassiron (on Île d’Oléron, pictured above), Jardin des Plantes Paris, Les Jardins D’Étretat, Les Jardins de Marqueyssac and Château de Villandry complete the top ten. Paris dominated the top 20 with six gardens but Normandy did well too, with four.
Full survey results can be viewed (in French only) here.
Green Flight Plan
As part of its Horizon 2030 scheme, Air France has committed to reducing its CO2 emissions per passenger/km by 50% by 2030 (compared to 2005); to make its ground operations carbon neutral; to reduce non-recycled waste by 50% (compared to 2011); and to continue to reduce its noise footprint.
The SNCF has announced that it will no longer sell plastic bottles on its TGV and Intercity trains, favouring recyclable packaging. The cardboard cartons for still water and aluminium cans for sparkling water will be sold under the name L’Eau Neuve, with water sourced in the Ariège department.
Small Is Beautiful
Keen to switch off? There’s no telly or wi-fi at Parcel’s range of slow-living holiday homes, called Tiny Houses. Destinations range from Brittany to Saint-Émilion in Bordeaux wine country, with titchy and cute accommodation on land owned by winegrowers, market gardeners or beekeepers. Slow tourism at its very best! en.parceltinyhouse.com
The Ski Train
Taking the train to the Alps for your ski holiday has obvious environmental advantages, and TravelSki’s service from London St Pancras to Moûtiers and Bourg delivers you to heart of the mountains with minimal fuss. Accommodation packages with ski passes are available for resorts such as Tignes and Les Arcs. www.uk.travelski.com
Inagurated in June, the Vélomaritime is a sprawling coastal path stretching 1,500km along France’s northen shores from Roscoff in Brittany to Dunkirk, Hauts-de-France (and beyond to Belgium), containing a glorious array of memorable coastline vistas and tourist sites for two-wheeled explorers.
Make sure your camera is handy in your rucksack for exceptional stop-offs en route, including the Pink Granite Coast, Mont-SaintMichel, the D-Day landing beaches, the cliffs at Étretat, the Bay of Somme and the Opal Coast. Also scattered along the attraction-rich itinerary are Ambleteuse’s Vauban fortress, Audinghen’s striking 1960s church and Wimereux’s colourful rows of Belle-Époque villas. Needless to say, the entire length of the route is too much for the amateur pootler so be sure to cherry-pick your preferred section on the route’s super new website, which allows you to plot your path according to your preferences. www.lavelomaritime.com
Eklo Means Eco
For proof that ecologically on-point accommodation needn’t cost the earth, look no further than Eklo, the growing chain of hotels whose trendy, simple, sustainable design (Eklo uses half the water and electricity – 100% green – of a conventional hotel) is shaking up the economy hotel scene. Stay in Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mans, Lille or Marne-la-Vallée, with more coming soon. www.eklohotels.com
From France Today magazine
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