Eco-tourism and green living in France is endlessly evolving – our regular column brings you the latest news and tourism developments. In this edition, we look at new partnerships, artificial coral reefs and 419 clean beaches.
Joined up green thinking
Two major tourism organisations in France have signed an agreement which, over time, aims to improve sustainable travel and holidays in France by aiding and educating the country’s tourism professionals – and thus subsequently benefiting tourists.
A treaty between ADN Tourisme, which was formed in 2020 as a new standalone organisation of three professional tourism federations, and the ATD (Acteurs du Tourisme Durable), the sustainable tourism body, will allow both parties to “undertake to pool and strengthen their actions in terms of awareness and information for their members and tourism stakeholders”, said a joint statement, “in order to face collectively, in a responsible way, the economic, environmental and social challenges that the sector must face”.
Among its first tasks is to define and explain the abundance of labelling, brands and certification that has emerged in the French sustainable tourism industry. To this end, they have already jointly published a guide to the labelling process for all professionals in the sector, explaining how these can be obtained as well as the organisational steps necessary for the candidate structures to obtain them.
In a bid to combat the effects of global warming and resulting canicules (heatwaves) outside of school terms – as seen this June – Parisian suburb Nanterre is set to spend €750,000 by 2026 on ‘greening up’ its playgrounds. The measures will improve CO2 storage, temperature cooling and air quality, not to mention pupils’ mood and concentration.
For the last year, the port at Antibes (Alpes-Maritime) has been equipped with two robots – moored at strategic points – that suck up whatever unwanted detritus floats around them. Every month, nearly two cubic metres of waste are collected on the water, 90% of it coming from the shore.
30 historic buildings in France, including Château de Purnon in Verrue, Vienne, have been announced as winners of a share of Airbnb’s €5.6m Heritage and Local Tourism programme, in partnership with the French Rural Mayors Association. The online booking portal recently added ‘Patrimoine’ as a search category on its website.
Drones are being used by vigilant farmers in Bas-Rhin, Alsace, in order to check for fawns during the summer harvest, reports Francetvinfo.fr. The animals, unaware of the danger, can fall victim to machines harvesting dense, tall grass. Farmers called on local hunting groups, trained in using the thermal cameras mounted on the drones.
Rooms with a View
Green is as green does, and the 4* Hotel & Spa du Gorges du Verdun at La Palud-sur-Verdon (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), ticks both boxes in style. It boasts a spellbinding location 938m above the verdant glory of the Gorges du Verdon – Europe’s biggest canyon, high above the Verdon river – plus decent ecological credentials for those keen to combine environmental soundness with their luxury French break.
The hotel boasts various ‘green’ labels – among them Écolabel Européen, Clef Verte and Hôtels au Naturel – and commits to measures such as using renewable energy as much as possible, reducing water consumption, using nature-friendly cleaning products as much as possible, increasing recycled waste and giving priority to local, organic, eco-responsible suppliers. All of which lend added kudos to the general finery – 30 beautiful guest rooms, a Cinq Mondes Spa, chef François Bargoing’s superb restaurant. Plus that terrace view, swoon…
A mammoth artificial coral reef is set to be laid on the seabed off the coast of Cap d’Agde (Hérault). The 108-tonne structure, measuring 6.5m high and 8m in circumference, is the world’s largest artificial reef project dedicated to diving. It took Seaboost of Montpellier – a company dedicated to increasing marine biodiversity – three years to build. It was conceived in order to preserve more delicate natural diving zones in the area.
Change for Better: Clean Beaches for 2022
This summer, 419 beaches and 117 pleasure ports have been awarded the Pavillon Bleu label for water quality and cleanliness. Here we pick four of the 27 beaches that joined the list this year.
Located near Granville, the childhood home of Christian Dior, La plage du Lude in Donville-les-Bains (Manche) is one of Normandy’s nicest – great for families, it is supervised in summer and has super sunsets. donvillelesbains.fr
Well-suited to families and accessed via a single, sloping path, la Plage du Pin de Galle at Le Pradet, Var, is a lovely beach with small pebbles in an exceptional and protected natural environment. Free parking nearby. lepradet-tourisme.fr/en
Boisvinet beach in Jard-sur-Mer, Vendée, is located near the port and extends to Saint-Vincent-sur-Jard. The only supervised beach at the resort, it welcomes those with reduced mobility. destinationvendeegrandlittoral.com
Unusually, this ‘beach’ is actually inland – at a leisure park 40km south of Limoges at Bussière-Galant, Haute-Vienne, to be precise. Bathers can enjoy various water sports before relaxing on either grass or sand. espace-hermeline.com
From France Today magazine
Lead photo credit : Relax on Boisvinet beach © Vendée Tourism
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