14 cosy, eco-responsible hotels to (re)discover the France

From a holistic castle retreat nestled in the Angevin countryside and a heavenly little hotel in the heart of Paris to cabins perched in a forest in Alsace... France is full of wonderful eco-designed hotels for a holiday close to nature and heritage. Ride an electric bike along the ridges of the Gorges du Verdon, immerse yourself in a tranquil forest, explore the castles of the Loire on foot and taste the matchless flavours of an organic vegetable garden... Here are 14 eco-responsible hotels to (re)discover France in slow mode.

Nutchel Alsace: a cabin in the fir trees in the Grand Est region

Read a book by the light of an oil lamp, warm up in front of a wood stove, soak in a hot tub overlooking the hills and plains of Piedmont des Vosges... Located in a seven-hectare park, just one hour from Strasbourg, the newly opened Nutchel Alsace is a masterclass transformation: in the purest spirit of "glamping", the village was redeveloped on an abandoned tourist resort. More than 3000 tons of materials were recycled, 3700 trees planted and 37 wooden huts built without foundations and furnished with recycled items. And in the grocery store, where local and regional products fill the shelves, simply make a note in-store of the items you use and pay at the end of your stay.

Stay at the forest village Nutchel Alsace (External link)

La Grée des Landes: immersion on the Breton moors

Take your binoculars and your drawing books for a stay here! At the eco-hotel and Spa Yves Rocher in La Grée des Landes, you’re sure to meet with some of the animal inhabitants of the area, including foxes and red frogs. More than 50 species of wild birds have been identified here, including the common linnet. Green roofs, solar panels, rainwater harvesting, plant water filter, bat nesting boxes... Certified ‘High Environmental Quality’ and awarded the Green Globe label and European Ecolabel, the hotel, nestled in the Breton moors, lives with the rhythm of nature: from the restaurant – featuring gastronomic and organic products – to the cocooning spa, where Yves Rocher plant-based treatments are provided.

Stay at La Grée des Landes (External link)

Souki Lodges: Top design in Occitanie

The house which clings to the side of a hill, is a cosy cocoon created from bio-sourced French wood is an ideal place to recharge your batteries and be at one with nature. Two large lodges on stilts are designed to give wonderful, uninterrupted views over the surrounding landscape. The wooden bathrooms offer breathtaking views over the treetops, and the 60 m2 terrace with jacuzzi promises a privileged point of view over the scrubland. The interiors feature art by major artists including designer rugs and Mooi designed bird-themed lights and a sculptural light by Umut Yamac.

Stay at Souki Lodges (External link)

Mob Hotel Paris Les Puces, in Saint-Ouen: a solidarity utopia in Ile-de-France

This is just any hotel – it’s more a of a multi-use space, created around a theme of social ecology. It’s a place to live and share. At the Mob Hotel in the heart of the famous flea markets of Puces de Saint Ouen you can see a film, go to a concert, enjoy a vegan pizza, or take a yoga class. It’s a hotel where you’ll sleep like a baby – especially if eco-responsibility is important to you. Here they have a zero-plastic policy, practice sorting and recycling and compost the waste. They also use homemade cleaning products, have "canteen" certified organic vegetable gardens and beehives on the roof. This a hotel that ticks all the boxes – including solidarity: surplus food is donated to the charity Restaurants du Cœur; and the Mob Hotel also hosts a school of social fashion.

Stay at the Mob Hotel Paris (External link)

Madame Rêve in Paris: back to the - eco-responsible - future

Relax… and breathe out slowly! This is one of the mantras of the artistic director of Madame Rêve, a brand new exceptional 5-star hotel in the iconic former Post Office of the Louvre. With a nod to Art Nouveau style, this hotel dreams of inventing a greener tomorrow. Perched on a giant green roof, the 82 rooms and suites have been designed according to the requirement of four environmental labels: limited number of bathtubs, 50% of heating and hot water produced by roof-top solar panel, selective sorting of waste, limited water consumption. And it also has a rooftop offering breathtaking views of Paris covered in vegetation, no pool.

Stay at the Hotel Madame Rêve (External link)

Maison Aribert: a green hotel at the foot of the mountains in the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region

A green starred chef (and double Michelin-starred), with a green hotel! When he took on the project to renovate an abandoned building in the park of Uriage-Les-Bains, and transform it into a guest house and restaurant, Christophe Aribert called in a specialist in geobiology. The result of their collaboration is an energy-efficient bio-climatic building. Materials are sourced locally; wood comes from sustainably managed forests and the artisanal-made bedding uses natural materials. As for the restaurant, the menu features food grown in a permaculture garden and sourced from local producers including Guinea fowl of Trièves and Archiane trout for a delicious taste of Vercors. This is zero waste cuisine.

Staying at Maison Aribert (External link)

Loire Valley Lodges: forest immersion in the shadow of the chateaux of the Loire

This is a perfect place to immerse yourself in complete privacy in a forest. The Loire Valley Lodges estate covers a whopping 300 hectares! This holiday resort perfectly blends art, culture, and well-being. Each of the 18 lodges is planned and managed in an eco-responsible way, designed by contemporary artists whose works can also be admired throughout the estate. The range of treatments and activities promise to reawaken and revitalise your senses. There are guided relaxation sessions beneath the trees, facial treatments using products made from French oak bark and sap extract, deep massages with beeswax and foot baths in warm water scented with flowers and leaves for a fulfilling forest bath!

Stay at Loire Valley Lodges (External link)

Coucoo Grand Lacs: the art of blending into nature in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté

You won’t find a nail or a screw used in the making of the cabins at this eco-estate of Franche-Comté. Perched like a giant bird’s nest in the branches of oak trees in a 70-hectare forest or at the edge of an 80-hectare lake, 25 cocoons made from larch wood or Douglas fir have been designed to limit their ecological footprint. There is no electricity or running water, instead there is a water reserve which is also used for the hot tubs, and plates made from palm trees leaves that can be composted... This very first hotel designed by Coucoo is an invitation to blend harmoniously with nature. Coucoo has several other eco-estates including their latest one in the Oise (Picardy) near the forest of Compiègne: Coucoo La Réserve…

Stay at Coucoo Grands Lacs (External link)

Le Bruit de l'Eau: Never Without My Canoe in the Hauts-de-France

Soak away the stress of everyday life in a wood-fired Japanese cedar bath at a relaxing temperature of 39-45°, then dip in a pool of cool water to invigorate your senses... Listen to the sound of water at this eco lodge near Marquenterre, famous for its wild bird nature reserve. The design was inspired by travel and the simplicity of a life in harmony with nature. Between forest and ponds, inspired by Zen monks and a spirit of eco-responsibility discover four lodges built from wood sourced from eco-managed forests. 100% of wastewater is naturally filtered and 200 m2 of roofs are covered in vegetation. To reduce its carbon footprint even more, the eco lodge resort stores more CO2 than it produces by planting more than 50 trees and shrubs per year.

Stay at the Le Bruit de l'Eau (External link)

Misincu Corsica: an organic garden on the Mediterranean

In the heart of Cap Corse, facing the largest marine natural park in the French metropolis, this 22-hectare estate holds a European Ecolabel. The 5-star hotel has 29 rooms and 7 villas, and it features a wastewater treatment plant, solar panels which produce hot water, and daily selective waste sorting to reduce food waste. The garden was designed by a renowned permaculture gardening expert and strawberries, grapes and heritage vegetables are produced in a garden designed to reveal the richness of the local biodiversity.

Stay at the Hotel Misincu (External link)

Hôtel des Gorges du Verdon: a balcony over a canyon in Provence

Awarded Green Key and European Ecolabel status, the Hôtel des Gorges du Verdon is part of the growing ecological movement and is one of two French pilot hotels of the European project neZEH (nearly Zero Energy Hotel). At nearly 1000 meters above sea level, this charming hotel has wide terraces which look over one of France most beautiful natural masterpieces: the grand canyon of the Gorges du Verdon in the heart of the regional natural park. Activities include rafting, canoeing, hiking, and riding along the ridge road by e-bike... There are more gentle activities too – like being pampered in the cocoon of the Cinq Mondes spa, where the views from the jacuzzi are panoramic.

Stay at the Hotel des Gorges du Verdon (External link)

Eklo Bordeaux: an alternative way of life in Nouvelle-Aquitaine

In the heart of the Bastide-Niel eco-district, close to a tram station, you’ll find the fifth greenest hotel in France according to the Betterfly Tourism ranking. Here the consumption of non-renewable resources is 40% lower per night than the hotel industry average. Solar panels produce electricity, green spaces have been transformed into an urban vegetable garden to provide food for the restaurant and they use locally produced eco-responsible products... Combining a hotel and youth hostel, collaborative cuisine and coworking spaces, the hotel promotes an alternative way of living. On Sundays a generous 100% homemade brunch brings together travelers and locals for a moment of celebration.

Stay at the Hotel Eklo Bordeaux (External link)

Clos l'Abbé: exclusively green in Normandy

Everything here has been thought out to ensure the highest level of hospitality. The hotel sits in a one-acre wooded park, between the sea and the bucolic Norman countryside. The hotel, renovated by local craftsmen using traditional materials such as stone, wood and locally made floor tiles is typical of the 18th century style architecture of Normandy. But this 5-Star hotel is very much a hotel of today, using geothermal energy for heating and hot water, solar panels provide energy for the spa, Phytomer and L'Odaïtès natural products are used for treatments, and a new hedge of 500 trees promotes biodiversity... Even the cider, created by Maison Hérout, is produced according to traditional and organic methods.

Stay at Clos l'Abbé (External link)

Château de l'Epinay: a holistic chateau retreat in the Pays de la Loire

Enjoy an essential oils workshop, meditation session and introduction to zero waste and permaculture gardening just 20 minutes from Angers. The Château de l'Epinay, an authentic 15th – 17th century building, is more than just a 4-star hotel & Spa, it is a true holistic retreat. You can choose from a catalogue of treatments, workshops, and retreats to replenish yourself. Enjoy dishes that feature ingredients from the permaculture vegetable garden. And take your pick from a range of leisure activities in the hotel’s 17-hectare park and the countryside including cycling, canoeing, forest walks or just lazing around the natural pool…

Stay at Château Pinay (External link)