It’s unsurprising the country ranked in the top 10 of Euromonitor’s Top Countries for Sustainable Travel in 2021. Best of all, the country is keeping its beaches, forests and national parks free and accessible. Here are simple ways to travel responsibly and eat your way around France.
Take the train in France
The French rail network is fast and efficient.
Soak in the scenery on a tourist train from Chamonix to Vallorcine in the Alps, the Hirondelles train in Franche-Comté or the Merveilles train from Nice to Tende in the Côte d’Azur. Enjoy stunning landscapes as you travel to Marseille, Nice, Bordeaux, Normandy and elsewhere. In 2021, slower and more affordable services have become available in Nantes and Lyon.
France’s walking trails span around 60,000 km. And there’s no natural high quite like walking in the mountains, breathing pristine air and viewing phenomenal panoramas. The Chemin de Saint-Jacques de Compostelle (The Way of Saint James or Santiago de Compostela) and the Tour of Mont Blanc are two famous trails that will allow you to discover the Pyrenees and the Alps respectively.
Swim by the Pavillon Bleu
In 2021 over 500 beaches and marinas across France received the Pavillon Bleu (Blue Flag) classification.
For beaches, this promises safe swimming, environmentally friendly facilities and responsible rubbish management. For marinas? Clean water, limits on motorised vehicles and robust waste treatment. Occitania, Provence-Alpes- Côte d’Azur and Pays de la Loire are the highest ranking regions.
Bienvenue a la Ferme
With tasty cheeses, fruits and cured meats in abundance, picnicking is always a good idea in France. Buy direct from the farmer at one of 720 farmers’ markets around France. You can also visit, eat and stay at thousands of farms to support the farmers while enjoying an authentic holiday experience in France.
Gastronomy in Green in France
In 2020 the Michelin Guide added a new category, a green star for ‘Sustainable Gastronomy’ to encourage eco-responsibility. The green star not only incorporates ingredients’ origins, but also waste management and energy usage.
In 2021, 33 restaurants featured, including La Maison d’à Côté, in the Loire Valley, ONA vegan restaurant near the Arcachon basin and Prairial restaurant in Lyon.
France has 5,500 ‘Protected Areas’ ensuring biodiversity and landscape conservation. The label'Grands Sites de France’ is awarded to places with successful rehabilitation programmes and services to tourists which benefit local economic and social development. Parc National de Forêts near Dijon is the newest, with 50 million trees, and encompassing 95 towns committed to eco-tourism and forestry research.