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How to Plan a Sustainable Trip to Paris

Paris eco trip

After months of lockdowns and travel restrictions, we have good news for fellow travelers eager to return to the City of Love! The French government has lifted its travel ban on foreign countries this month and travelers who show proof of vaccination may once again enter French territory.

While people are quick to look online for the latest travel deals, one thing to keep in mind is how travel affects our carbon footprint. According to the International Organization of Sustainable Travel, tourism is responsible for approximately 8% of global carbon emissions. Various travel activities contribute to tourism’s total carbon footprint. These activities include but are not limited to: shopping, dining out, and lodging. However, minimizing Co2 emissions in these areas should not impede planning your glamorous getaway.  

Below we have curated a list of the best eco-tips to planning your perfect sustainable trip to Paris.

Transportation

Transport accounts for most global CO2 emissions that are emitted annually. Air Traffic is the biggest polluter, followed by vehicles. 

For those who live in Europe, consider coming to Paris by train. Trains are an excellent travel method because they require half the CO2 emissions of a standard airplane trip. If you live outside of Europe, traveling by airplane is almost inevitable. One easy way to cut back on emissions is to book a direct flight to France, rather than one with multiple stops. Flights that include multiple connections emit more emissions than those that are direct.

Another eco tip is to purchase carbon offsets. Many airlines like Delta and JetBlue partner with nonprofit organizations to provide flyers with carbon offset programs. These programs allow you to buy carbon offset “equivalent” to how much carbon your flight costs.  

Choosing the Accommodation

Did you know that deciding where you stay the night can factor into your total CO2 consumption for your entire stay? Energy-intensive systems like heating and air conditioning used by hotels and other accommodations create CO2 emissions and factor into individuals’ environmental impact of CO2. 

One alternative can be staying at smaller lodgings such as homestays and guest houses, as they produce lower emissions. This doesn’t mean that we should avoid all hotels. Nowadays, certain hotels are increasing their environmental commitment to the planet by adopting eco-conscious policies like having on-site transportation with green vehicles, renewable energy sources like solar or wind energy, and energy-efficient lighting. As you book your next trip to France, consider staying at an eco-friendly or sustainable hotel such as the Hôtel De La Porte Dorée.

Dining Out

Restaurants can be some of the biggest carbon offenders. Climate experts note that the average restaurant consumes as much energy as supermarkets and wholesalers. Restaurants are also more likely to rely on fossil fuels than supermarkets, contributing to an increase in carbon emissions. 

Try to dine out at restaurants that are low carbon or eco-friendly. Restaurants fall into this category if they use locally sourced seasonal fruit and vegetables, incorporate meat-free menus to their list, and if they have techniques to reduce food waste. Check out our article on the top 6 places for dining in Paris on a lower carbon footprint.

Better yet, swap a restaurant for a garden or greenspace and enjoy a proper Parisian picnic en plein air. There are plenty of local food markets to browse fresh cheeses, breads, and more! We recommend the Marché des Enfants Rouges (open everyday except Monday at 39 rue de Bretagne, 75003 Paris), the Marché Bastille (open Thursdays and Sundays at boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011 Paris), or the Marché biologique des Batignolles (open Saturdays at 34 Boulevard des Batignolles, 75017 Paris).  

Paris food market

Shopping Local

At the end of any trip, it’s customary to bring home souvenirs of your trip from the stunning French city. But as you prepare your shopping budget, think about the environmental footprint that goes into souvenirs and other items. Often, that five-euro Eiffel tower trinket purchased from a local vendor was actually made in a mass-produced factory thousands of miles away. Aim to buy local or homemade items made in Paris or somewhere in France. Not only is this option eco-friendly, you can also guarantee that it will be more sentimental and representative of authentic Parisian culture. You are sure to find unique second-hand treasures at Paris’ outdoor markets such as Les Puces de Saint-Ouen (open Saturday – Monday at 124 rue Rosiers, 93400 Saint Ouen) or the Puce de Vanves (open Saturday/Sunday at avenue Marc Sangnier, 75014 Paris)

Paris flea market

Prolong Your Stay

Travel hopping from country to country may seem like a great idea. Still, the added stress and the inability to truly experience the ins and outs of a city make the adventure less practical than you imagined. Not to mention multiple destinations increases your carbon footprint. 

One option is to prolong your trip for several days. It’s difficult to plan a brief stay in Paris. With hundreds of monuments, green spaces, and museums, this city wasn’t meant to be explored in a weekend. If you truly want to experience French culture and cuisine, we recommend staying in Paris for at least four days. Additionally, this will allow you to spend a day at popular tourist spots like Versailles, Disneyland Paris, or Fontainebleau. These locations are easily accessible by RER, transilien, or bus. 

There are several ways you can make your travel destination planning more eco-friendly. Our 4- or 7-day Paris packages are suited for solo travelers, couples, or families seeking a low-carbon vacation. It’s a one-of-a-kind trip that you can’t recreate from a guidebook. This is your chance to truly immerse yourself in the local food, art, and culture in an utterly unique and sustainable way.  

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