When planning your holiday in France, think about green tourism. A few labels can point you in the direction of nature destinations offering a selection of eco-responsible accommodation or suggest environmentally friendly gastronomic experiences. In the mountains, by the sea, in a hotel, a gîte or a restaurant, follow the guide!
1. Choosing a sustainable destination
Created in 1964 by the French Federation of Green Resorts and Snow Villages, this tourist label groups together territories offering meaningful holidays, adopting a green tourism oriented towards nature and respectful of the environment. A Green Resort can be located in the countryside, in the mountains or near the coast. The destination develops sustainable initiatives and a series of activities linked to a natural, cultural or historical heritage, engages in tourism that is both humane and benevolent towards the territory and promotes biodiversity. Some Green Resorts stand out with specialities: Famille Plus, Village de Neige, or Station de Pêche. In metropolitan France, nearly 500 villages have the Station Verte label.
Created in 2011 by the Moutain Riders association, this is the eco-responsible label for mountain resorts: it guarantees their commitment to green tourism, via 20 compulsory criteria to be validated. 12 French resorts have obtained it: Les Arcs Paradiski, Megève, Valberg, Chamrousse, La Pierre Saint-Martin, Les Rousses, Vallée de Chamonix Mont Blanc, Châtel Portes du Soleil, Les Angles, Val Cenis, Morzine Avoriaz and Le Grand Bornand The label is awarded by a sworn independent body, which audits the candidate resorts to check that the actions taken comply with the Flocon Vert specifications.
This is one of the oldest eco-responsible labels present on French territory. Created in 1985, and now present in 46 countries, it is part of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN. The Blue Flag is awarded to a seaside resort or marina, and ensures that the site has facilities to minimise the impact of tourist traffic, such as waste separation bins and sanitary facilities. Blue Flag resorts also frequently organise environmental awareness campaigns for the public. When it comes to marinas, the Blue Flag ensures that boaters have access to careening areas without discharge into the natural environment, to systems for recovering waste water from boats and to areas for recovering special waste. 410 plages françaises sont labellisées, dans près de 200 communes, ainsi que 115 ports de plaisance.
The European Clean Ports certification is a voluntary initiative for the environmental management of marinas. The approach contains 5 components to enable the impact of activities on the planet to be taken into account in accordance with the certification: environmental diagnostic study, means of combating chronic pollution, implementation of means of combating accidental pollution, water and energy saving, training of port personnel and user awareness.
2. Choose an eco-responsible accommodation
Created by the European Commission in 1992, the European Ecolabel distinguishes hotels and campsites that seek to reduce their impact on the environment: products used, reduction of water and energy consumption, reduction of waste production, improvement of their environmental management, etc. To obtain this eco-responsible label, professionals in the field of green tourism must meet a set of 29 compulsory criteria and 61 optional criteria
The Green Key label is a reference in terms of sustainable tourism and concerns hotels, gites, bed and breakfasts, holiday villages, campsites and youth hostels. Around one hundred criteria, some mandatory and others optional, have been defined to help the accommodation achieve an effective environmental approach. In France, 855 tourist establishments have been awarded the Green Key label.
With more than 500 establishments listed in nearly 90 countries since 1999, Green Globe is undoubtedly the largest eco-responsible label on an international scale. In France, several well-known accommodation providers have been awarded the precious sesame, starting with Club Med. Some large hotels are also on the list, such as the Martinez Hotel, the Majestic Barriere and the Intercontinental Carlton in Cannes, the Carnac Thalasso & Spa Resort, or the Grée des Landes Eco-Hotel & Spa by Yves Rocher, in Brittany and the Apogée in Courchevel, in the Alps.
At the initiative of Gîtes de France, the NGO WWF has been awarding the Gîte Panda label since 1993 to gîtes and guest rooms located in communes in regional and national nature parks, Natura 2000 areas, nature reserves, Grands Sites de France or areas designated by UNESCO... Ideal for staying in a preserved environment, where everyone - guests and visitors alike - is sensitive to and aware of the need to protect nature Biodiversity is promoted, ecological materials are used in construction, and particular attention is paid to the preservation of the environment.
Gites de France
Another eco-responsible label distinguishes Gîtes de France establishments. This is the Ecogîte label. Its objective is to encourage accommodation providers to reduce the environmental impact of their buildings, reduce energy consumption and use more environmentally friendly products. For each criterion, a score is given, then aggregated by theme, then levels are defined (Bronze, Silver or Gold) according to the scores achieved.
If you want to be sure of eating organic food at your hotel, nothing beats a stay in a Bio-Hotels establishment. The group is the only one in Europe to have defined strict food specifications, in close collaboration with the organic sector in each country. These ecological hotels are subject to the same rules (and controls by the relevant state bodies) as the farmers, a guarantee of quality. Naturally, access to "organic" products depends on the local supply, as the proportion of land cultivated with organic products varies from one country to another (10% in France).
Looking for a (truly) eco-friendly bed and breakfast in Paris? Nothing could be easier. All you have to do is count the number of leaves - 3, 4 or 5 - awarded by the Authentic B&B network to the accommodations (of the groups) France Lodge, Good Morning Paris and Une chambre en Ville. To obtain the green tourism award, it is sufficient to present a very good/excellent report card in five main areas: water and energy saving, consumption habits, food, impact on the environment and health, and information for visitors. Une grille d’évaluation environnementale comprenant ces cinq items est partagée à l’ensemble des adhérents.
Since 2008, the Clévacances label has adopted an "Environment" qualification for gîtes, rentals and guest rooms that reduce their impact on the environment without altering it. These eco-responsible accommodations must meet precise specifications in terms of the performance of household appliances, thermal insulation, use of low-energy light bulbs, water saving and waste management.
Sites et paysages de France
Proposer des séjours eco-responsable en camping dans des sites naturels préservés dans les Alpes pour apprécier la montagne autrement tout en sensibilisant les enfants aux bonnes pratiques respectueuse de l’environnement. C’est l’objectif de l’association (loi 1901) Sites et paysages de France. Créée en 1982 par des propriétaires d’hébergements de plein air, ce réseau indépendant a mis en place des activités nature. Chacun des campings dispose ainsi de sentiers botaniques et, d’ici 2013, d’arboretums.
Le French time
Created in 2006 by campsite owners or managers committed to green tourism, the Via Natura label is a voluntary initiative to protect the environmental and natural heritage of 17 outdoor accommodation sites in France. Their mission is also to share their convictions with nature lovers. A different economic management, a real application of the members, a different approach to the campers and a search for new relations with the employees.
la via natura
Waste management, awareness of selective sorting, energy savings, use of renewable energy, water management, noise pollution, improvement of acoustic comfort, these are some of the areas of commitment included in the Chouette Nature eco-responsible label, created in 2005 by the Cap France network of independent holiday villages and hotel clubs, which lists more than 120 criteria.
Éthic Etapes offers quality accommodation for individuals and groups in a spirit of solidarity and responsibility that unites all 45 centres in France and promotes meeting and exchange as a principle of action. Éthic étapes is a voluntary union of international holiday centres. A non-profit association, its aim is to provide a quality welcome for young people of all nationalities. The network is committed to developing green and eco-responsible tourism. Rencontre, principe de non-lucrativité, brassage et mixité, citoyenneté sont autant de valeurs que les centres s'engagent à décliner concrètement au quotidien : fonctionnement associatif, espaces de rencontres et d'animation, accessibilité tarifaire et physique des équipements, gestion environnementale des bâtiments, recours à d'autres acteurs de l'économie sociale…
Far from mass tourism, the Hôtels au naturel are eco-responsible establishments on a human scale that share their passion for protecting nature and preserving heritage. Simple, friendly and authentic, the 22 sites also promote local seasonal products and offer the opportunity to discover the regions of France on foot, by bike or on horseback.
3. Choosing a locavore restaurant
Seasonal products, vegetarian dishes..., the Eco-table eco-responsible label responds to the need to eat better, in a way that is more respectful of our health and of the planet. Thanks to a list of precise criteria, taking into account all sources of environmental impact, restaurants are labelled according to three levels of commitment. Thus, the most sustainable establishments are valued and the general public can easily find eco-responsible restaurants. There are also different badges such as short circuit or sustainable fishing.
The Food Index for Good (Fig) is a practical tool that enables the evaluation of the four pillars of eco-responsibility and the measurement of the environmental footprint of restaurants. The label recognises restaurants that give pride of place to plant-based and sustainably produced meat in their menus (meat has a high carbon footprint), as well as those that offer seasonal, organic and local products, which have the advantage of being water and energy efficient, while limiting soil pollution. Waste reduction (limited use of plastic, recycling, composting) and the use of renewable energy are also scrutinised.
Vegetarian menus, reuse of unsold food, composting, doggy bags, energy consumption, renewable energy, just-in-time delivery, the Greenfood eco-responsible label rewards restaurants committed to sustainable development.
Good for the Climate
Knowing the carbon weight of the dishes offered on a restaurant menu is possible with the Good for the Climate eco-calculator, designed by the Eco2initiaitive consultancy, which specialises in sustainable food. The aim is to provide hoteliers and restaurateurs with an intelligent tool, based on ADEME figures, to adjust and promote the environmental footprint of their menus to their customers.
Good for the climate
To also know
Tourism and disability
Holidays and disabilities are not incompatible. The "Tourism and Disability" label aims to provide reliable, descriptive and objective information on the accessibility of tourist sites and facilities dedicated to people with disabilities, whatever they may be. It also enables the development of a tourist offer that is both adapted and integrated into the general offer.
Designed for hotels, airports and tour operators committed to green tourism, Earthcheck is a comparative analysis and certification programme. It is an international benchmarking tool that helps to monitor and measure resource use and waste production, improve design and operating efficiency, and encourage corporate social responsibility (CSR). In addition to environmental protection issues, the eco-responsible label includes a social and economic dimension, taking into account notions of governance, employment, regulations and the impact of the activity on services.
Travel operators wishing to demonstrate their commitment to green tourism can apply for the ATR "Act for Responsible Tourism" eco-responsible label.
To do so, they must fill in all their actions in relation to the criteria and indicators specified in a reference system. The data is then checked by an independent organisation, Ecocert, which awards the famous seal of approval.