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Sustainable tourism

We all aspire to be more environmentally conscious: 87% of travellers want to travel sustainably.

Sustainable tourism takes into account the economic, social, and environmental impacts of travel, both present and future, all while considering the needs of tourists, tourism professionals, the environment, and host communities.

The current health crisis has forced us to think about our relationship with living things and our impact on the environment.

Quarantines result in reduced pollution, forcing us to question about how we produce and consume.

Consumption can be more responsible, and mobility can be more sustainable.

Tourists’ expectations for sustainability are increasing, and the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region has tourist offerings to meet these demands.

Slow tourism includes activities like hiking and getting back to nature, but so much more.

Some examples of regional offers and initiatives for more responsible tourism

 

Lyon, the capital of gastronomy, committed to sustainable tourism

 

Lyon, Fair and Sustainable City:

A one-of-a-kind initiative in France, "Lyon, Fair and Sustainable City" is a part of a local drive to promote a solidarity-based, social economy.

This label identifies businesses, shops, artisans, places, and events that address the challenges of sustainable development by encouraging responsible consumption. The label has been awarded to more than 240 entities throughout the city, helping residents and visitors to make more informed choices.

More info (in french)

 

1st European Capital of Smart Tourism in 2019:

This title recognises a city’s potential in terms of sustainable tourism, in the same way the title of European Capital of Culture recognises cultural development.

More info

 

The Lyon Tourist Office assists accommodation providers with obtaining their Environmental Label: Collège Hôtel, Fourvière Hôtel and Ermitage Hôtel are the first hotels to receive their Environmental Label.
More info

 

Lyon’s tourism professionals, committed to taking care of their visitors in a sustainable way, adhere to a serenity charter

More info 

 

Example of an accommodation: Lyon Urban Cocoon

Apartments that respect both their guests and the environment in the heart of Lyon! 

More info

 

The gourmet restaurant Culina Hortus (Lyon 1) has just been voted the Best Vegetarian Restaurant in the World by the "We're Smart Green Guide".

More info

 

The WeCanDoo platform offers experiences alongside local artisans.

More info (website in french but workshops are also possible in english) 

 

In Ardèche

 

A green holiday at Koteja Nature

Light, wood, and serenity. In Saint-Romain-de-Lerps, 25 minutes from Valence, Koteja Nature is a new concept for getting back to nature, in harmony with the landscapes. The environment is at the heart of the structure, and a warm welcome is the highest priority.

An eco-friendly building with the smallest possible impact, the immense windows look out at the oak trees of the 1,300 m² property overlooking the Rhône Valley and Crussol Castle. The two apartments (30 m² and 60 m²) feature Scots pine framing. There’s also a sauna for guests to enjoy. For a stay of one night or more in a 100% green setting and a zen atmosphere. A quality welcome is a top priority, with tailor-made services including shopping assistance, meals, and outings for guests looking for authenticity and sincerity.

More info

 

Back to nature at Au Fil de Soi in Issamoulenc

In a former silk mill in Issamoulenc, a couple created a place that reflects their philosophy on life, with two eco-friendly holiday lets. Wood wool insulation, flooring from sustainably managed forests, solvent-free paints, faucets equipped with aerators: everything was carefully chosen for the smallest possible environmental impact. "The decorations are also eco-friendly. We use a lot of recycled and upcycled objects. Today, we are proud to display our European Ecolabel."

More info

 

L'Olive, family-run eco-friendly holiday lets in Payzac

Convinced of the possibilities of sustainable tourism, Sébastien imagined unique holiday lets. Eco-gites! Four lovely houses made from wood and stone built on the edge of the olive groves surrounded by white oaks. In the south of the Monts d'Ardèche Regional Nature Park, in the town of Payzac, these wood-framed houses boast roof gardens and wood wool insulation. Sébastien used stones collected on the property and local Ardèche wood varieties whenever possible. He even chose a plant-filtration system for water treatment. "Inside these passive houses, we wanted something modern and cosy. So, we asked Clothilde from the "Dompteurs de Papier" engraving workshop in Faugères to bring some colour into the space. Outside, large wooden terraces are perfect for lovers of relaxation," says Sebastian.

More info

 

Mas Héritage, green by nature

François Tissot, an oenologist, wanted to get back to nature. He bought a house surrounded by abandoned vineyards near Rosières and transformed the stables and cellars into two eco-friendly holiday lets. And he also put in an eco-friendly swimming pool with water filtered by plants.

More info 

 

Examples of initiatives:

Vineyards of Ardèche: an initiative to save organic and community vineyards

Ardèche Vignobles, grapes of solidarity

The Ardèche Winemakers Union launched a cooperative community-oriented enterprise called Ardèche Vignobles to preserve its vineyards and attract new winemakers. The purchase of the Terra Noé winery in the town of Rochecolombe was financed by crowdfunding. Using organic farming methods, the vineyard will showcase of the expertise of winemakers and serve as a pilot winery. Today, Ardèche Vignobles brings together more than 500 citizens dedicated to saving the vineyards from abandonment. In addition to purchasing the Terra Noé winery, the cooperative has also acquired new plots to welcome new winemakers.

More info

 

Soft survival course in Ardèche

Learn to survive in the wild, find water, recognize plants, prepare a first aid kit, and use what you find outside to wash yourself and brush your teeth. This is what’s in store on the survival course of Aurélie and Olivier Peyronnel, two botany enthusiasts. But don't worry, this isn't army training. For a half day, a full day, or a two-day trek, small groups of 8 head out to walk along the river and find plants that are edible or can be used for healing or hygiene. The group gathers plants near Vallon-Pont-d'Arc or Labeaume and learns to recognise the different species and use them to make herbal tea. For reconnecting with nature, learning to be self-sufficient, and finding harmony with the environment.

More info

 

Balade autour de Grignan, Drôme Provençale
© P. Muradian/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

In Drôme

 

"Maison Zero (or almost...)" in Die in Drôme Provencale

At the holiday let La Maison Zero, everything is designed for enjoying the present moment, without fuss, while reducing your environmental impact and improving your health.

Holiday let for 10 guests

More info

 

Organic products in the Drôme Valley:

This rural territory is a European model for sustainable development. 45 towns in the Drôme Valley are a part of Biovallée®, a reference in responsible tourism.

BioVallée project

 

In Isère

 

Grenoble named the 2022 European Green Capital!

The capital of the Alps was nominated alongside Turin, Tallinn, and Dijon.

The European Green Capitals programme encourages cities to develop and carry out actions in favour of environmental protection.

"Grenoble is a land of pioneers. From hydroelectricity in the 19th century to renewable energies in the 21st, Grenoble has always been a step ahead of the challenges of the times! "

More info

 

Chalet Auris

A guest chalet with the unique combination of hotel services and a personal touch in the warm atmosphere of a mountain lodge.

More info 

 

Caroline Calendula

A writer offering courses and lectures on edible wild plants.

"Today, in the West, gathering plants for food is a way to make a stand and participate in the global transition toward a lifestyle based on natural awareness. Passing on knowledge about plants is a true form of activism, because anyone who introduces wild plants into their daily lives contributes to the fabulous rise of a new world."

More info

 

Le Mont-Blanc vu depuis le col de la Cicle, Beaufortain
© Christian Martelet/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

In Savoie-Mont-Blanc

 

In the Chamonix Valley:

An environmental observatory for ski resorts

The Compagnie du Mont-Blanc manages the skiing areas of the Chamonix Valley. The company has set up environmental observatories at all its resorts and subsidiaries to observe the impact on plants, wildlife, and the landscapes.

Peaceful areas for native species

A 3-star hotel in Chamonix invested in sustainable development: Les Aiglons

An eco-friendly luxury 4-star hotel in Chamonix: Le Morgane

 

In Annecy

Villa Caroline in Duingt 

On the banks of Lake Annecy in the town of Duingt is a new health and wellness facility with a unique concept in France. Several types of stays are offered to guests of Villa Caroline, including a wellness discovery day and a fasting stay. With the all-inclusive package, guests can rest and take care of themselves with food that is healthy, energising, local, organic, and seasonal, while participating in physical activities and a personalised programme with a naturopath, all with the aim to "age better and longer". Created by Caroline and Gregory, the establishment, in hues of beige and chestnut, overlooks the lake. Guests can enjoy the garden and numerous services: spa, gym, private beach, water treatments, library, home cinema, etc. Just one rule for guests: disconnect (no TV or Wi-Fi).

Opening December 2020

 

Green Trends in Savoie-Mont-Blanc:

Sustainable tourism starts with a territory committed to a positive transition: preserving the fragile natural environment, working toward a balance with human activities, promoting local consumption, supporting initiatives of sustainability and solidarity, and a circular economy. Sustainable tourism is also educating holidaymakers about their impact on the environment and on nature, raising awareness about biodiversity, encouraging the use of soft mobility, and promoting short supply chains.

A sensible approach to landscaping, ski areas committed to sustainability, solar-powered lifts, resorts of the future, responsible development, green grooming machines, green ski wax, etc.

Savoie-Mont-Blanc is already committed to a sustainable and responsible approach.

More info

 

The French ski areas aim for carbon neutrality in 2037

At the 2020 Congress of French Ski Areas, held in October in Grenoble, the professional union of ski lift operators announced its roadmap to making their operations greener. The target: carbon neutrality of the entire trade in 2037 based on 16 specific commitments.

 

Where to ski in April and May in the Alps?

Spring ski resorts guide 

 

In Vercors

 

Travel agencies focused on sustainable tourism:

Amorak Esprit nature

Our off-the-beaten-track holidays reflect our commitment to eco-tourism and follow our Amarok principles: 8 people maximum per holiday, guides specialised on the theme of the trip (nature guides, professional photographers, botanists), eco-friendly accommodations (campsites, nature lodges, home stays), encounters, openness and exchanges, local and organic food, and a strong awareness for respecting nature and minimising our impact.

 

Trieves Vercors

Carless holidays in Trièves

The Tourist Office offers carbon-free holiday ideas for discovering Trièves without a car. The natural area is easily accessible, with two TER train stations and bus lines from Grenoble.

 

Vercors Escapade

Lovers of hiking, nature, and mountains, we are thankful to be able to make a living with our passion and are thrilled to share it with guests.

Discover our mountains on foot in a respectful and joyous atmosphere.

 

Accommodations

 

Echapée en Vercors cottage let

"The Echapée en Vercours" let welcomes you to a unique setting facing the spectacular Cirque de Bournillon and waterfall, near the famous caves of Choranche. Nestled in an 18th century hamlet in the heart of the Vercors Regional Nature Park, the traditional house combines pure stones and woody fragrances."

 

Maison Agathe et Sophie

Enjoy a peaceful haven in Lans near Grenoble to relax and get away from everyday life for a burden-free slow holiday.

 

Gîtes de la Chabotte

This old farmhouse built in 1825 was completely renovated with eco-friendly natural materials.

Each accommodation has a breathtaking view of the Presles Cliffs for sweet and peaceful nights lulled by the sound of the nearby springs.

The Chabotte holiday lets are located near several hiking paths with plenty of nearby attractions, including the caves of Choranche, the Cirque de Bournillon and waterfall (380 m), the village of Pont-en-Royans with its houses suspended over the river, as well as lots of sites for water sports and winter sports.

 

Guided hikes in the Vercors wilderness

Hiking, half-day outings, full-day trips, or camping immersion holidays in powerful and awe-inspiring natural landscapes. The spirit is one of discovery, understanding, and sharing knowledge about the environment without forgetting about humans and their heritage.

 

 

PNR du Pilat

In Loire

 

The Rivoire agri-ecological centre

Located in the Pilat Regional Nature Park, the site combines tourism (holiday let and guest houses), permaculture classes, tree climbing, and environmental education

 

The 4 m garden

This eco-friendly site in Saint-Regis-du-Coin has guest houses, gluten-free menus, permaculture, and more.

 

The Pilat Tourist Office

published a Carless holiday guide (in french)

 

Examples of sustainable accommodations

Gites de France in Loire

La chaine des Puys (63)
© F. Cormon/Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes Tourisme

In Auvergne

 

Clermont-Ferrand, metropolis of the centre of Auvergne, sets up responsible initiatives in its territory to offer a stay respectful of its inhabitants, its nature and its culture…

Plus d'infos

 

Nattitude

The Nattitude network highlights accommodations that reflect a protected, natural, unique, and authentic environment.

More info

 

Examples of accommodations

 

Volca’Lodges and its restaurant Marceline, Edgar & Compagnie

In a renovated hamlet, 21 wooden eco-lodges with roof gardens blend in perfectly with the surrounding Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park. Each lodge has its own private terrace.

In one of the buildings of the hamlet, under the arches of the former stables, is the restaurant Marceline, Edgar & Compagnie, serving cuisine that combines tradition and modernity, with local products and produce from the garden.

 

CosyCamp

In this 4-star campsite near the Auvergne Volcanoes Regional Nature Park and the Puy de Dôme (2 hr), guests will enjoy new, comfortable, and quality eco-designed buildings made from wood and lava stone that fit in perfectly with the surrounding environment.

 

Domaine de Balbuzard

Have you ever dreamt of sleeping under the stars in a transparent bubble? This is what you'll find at the Domaine de Balbuzard in the heart of the Combrailles region, just 40 minutes from Clermont-Ferrand. Located on the banks of a lake, the site offers several other unique accommodations: yurt, tipi, and a caravan. A magical night awaits.

 

Ana’chronique

Far from city noises, Ana'chronique sits on 5 hectares of meadows briming with diverse plants and trees. This eco-friendly renovated farm is a place of experimentation where water, energy, and waste are managed responsibly. The site also offers nutrition workshops to get back to the basics of eating.

 

The tree houses of Bois Basalte

Bois Basalte aren't ordinary tree houses, but innovative accommodations eco-designed by four architects in the heart of the Combrailles region, at an elevation of 977 m. The tree houses are equipped with dry toilets, pellet hot water heaters, and pellet stoves for heating. Water is drawn from a natural spring. The buildings offer stunning views of the nearby volcanoes and the Sancy Mountains.

 

Volvic Organic Resort 

The Volvic Organic Resort was born from a passion for the volcanoes of Auvergne and the desire to share our love for this region. For several months, we searched for the perfect place to host an eco-tourism project combining accommodation, seminars, and leisure activities, all with an eco-friendly approach. The unique and preserved site of the Volvic Source was soon an obvious choice!

 

Natura Tazenat

In both summer and winter, soak up nature and the relaxing atmosphere of this enchanting site! Four tree houses and an eco-lodge for a unique and timeless suspended holiday next to the Gour de Tazenat lake.

An experience brimming with simplicity, authenticity, nature, and wide-open spaces.

 

Examples of businesses committed to sustainability

 

Thalie et Aglaé

Located in the town of Pontgibaud, in the heart of the Combrailles region, Thalie et Aglaé is a lovely boutique with a range of health-conscious and eco-friendly products, most of which are made in Auvergne. Soaps, cosmetics, toys, knives. You'll find soap from Les Belles de Savon, handmade with natural milk along the Sioule River.

 

Huilerie de Blot-L’Eglise

The Blot oil company carries on this local tradition since 1857. Rapeseed, Auvergne walnuts, and Aquitaine hazelnuts are crushed with the grindstone. The oil mill sells 12 different oils in the shop, alongside regional products from local artisans.

 

Ma P’tite boutique Cosm’Ethique

Organic cosmetics shop in Clermont-Ferrand with 100% French and eco-friendly products, mostly made around Clermont-Ferrand. Morgane, the owner, explains to patrons how the products are made as well as their benefits.

 

Some activities

 

The Forêt des Arboris

The Forêt des Arboris is an outdoor recreation park of the future. The park strives to have the least possible impact on the environment. The whole park is fully mobile. In the summer, it's set up in the town of Aydat, and in the winter, it takes over the town of Murol in the Sancy Mountains. The park features forest laser tag in an outdoor area of 3500 m² and a game of riddles and puzzles along a 1.5 km footpath.

 

The urban farm of Clermont-Ferrand

Inspired by major cities in Sweden, Clermont-Ferrand was one of the first cities in France to host an urban farm. The goal: bring agriculture to the heart of the city. The farm produces vegetables and organic fruit, focusing on permaculture. It has a poultry farm as well. The site is also a meeting place for exchanging views on the world of the future.

 

Forest bathing in Le Mont-Dore

France's first trail dedicated to forest bathing, the Capuchin Sylvatorium uses the 19th forest walking trails created in Le Mont-Dore during the golden age of the spas and updates them for this new trend.
The Sylvatorium is a journey for the senses through the Capuchin Forest, with 5 forest spas, overlooks, and lounge areas for relaxing with the trees. This trail is a genuine forest bath, designed for bathers to let go, focus on the trees, and understand them to enjoy their benefits.

All five senses are stimulated while sitting or lying down (fully dressed) in the large wooden spas. Enjoy the aromas (smell), the vibratory song (hearing), the chromotherapeutic sunlight (sight) of the forest filtered down to its 3 essential colours, the electromagnetic communication between the trees (touch), and their fruit (taste).

 

The walled garden of the Besse ramparts

This medieval garden includes medicinal plants, herbs, vegetables, as well as plants used for perfume, textiles, and dyes.

The garden is also a way to raise public awareness of sustainable development, with classes about composting or avoiding pesticides. The gardeners work alongside the botany curator of the Chaudefour Valley National Nature Reserve.

Sustainable accommodation platforms

 

National sustainable platforms include accommodations in Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes : 

 

Vaovert en Auvergne 

Vaovert en Rhône-Alpes 

La clé Verte 

Feelingo

Fairbooking 

GreenGo.Voyages

For more info

 

Online courses in English (free) :
 

Sustainable Tourism : Rethinking the future 

 

Sustainable Tourism : Society & Environmental Aspects 

 

 

 

written by
Photo d'Irène Tronchet
Irène TRONCHETPromotion & Press Officer - European markets

Phone : +33 (0)4 73 29 49 45
Phone : +33 (0)6 79 14 32 12
Mail : I.Tronchet@auvergnerhonealpes-tourisme.com

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