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Ecotourism : Doing it right in Paris


Traditional ecotourism would suggest natural destinations such as Costa Rica, Ecuador or Madagascar. And the essence of traditional ecotourism lies where tourists minimize physical and social impacts when you eco travel, ensure local people will benefit economically, building environmental and cultural awareness and making it interpretative learning experience.  

However, ecotourism in remote areas is not so remote anymore with advances in technology and transportation. Tourists can access to anywhere at anytime and making it impossible to minimize physical and social impacts on their destination.

That’s when urban ecotourism would fit. Let’s face it, half of the world population live in the city.  If we really want to make differences to our environment and also make it enjoyable so that tourists will be attracted, wouldn’t opportunity be in the big cities where more tourists visit? For example, traditional ecotourism will only appeal to those people who are really passionate about eco traveling in nature but urban ecotourism will unconsciously make an impact on every tourists visiting the big cities in the subtlest way.

And here, we have Paris, the most visited city in the world. And tourism in Paris can be predictable. But if you think that ecotourism will never be possible in Paris, you are wrong! Paris is one of the many big cities where lots of local players make efforts to make the city greener and suitable for ecotourism. What we propose here today may not entirely be called ecotourism but it will show how Paris can be the next destination for urban ecotourism and how it can be the next big contributor to tourism in Paris.

You can also check our article cafes in Paris.

(Ecotourism Chapter 1: Moving Green)

Paris offers many transportation options that you can choose from when you want to eco travel. And the city is not that big, you can always walk and take all the things Paris would offer for a little ecotourism. Ecotourism is not only about what you see but also how you move about.


* Metro

You might say Paris has one of the most complicated public transportation system. Yes, it is true but it is all for your convenience. With increasing industry of tourism in Paris, you can also find the metro stop nearly everywhere in the Paris city. They are relatively cheap and user-friendly. And even you are going somewhere with no metro stop, there are trams, RER and buses (so many buses).


* It’s all about no gas

Now, more ecotourism way of moving about in Paris would be without any gas. Vélib, the public bicycles scheme has been first introduced in 2007. Within less than 10 years, there are more than 23,600 bicycles available in more than 1,800 stations. They are not only famous to Parisians but also to tourists because you can easily purchase 1-day ticket online!


If you are looking for a faster eco travel option, there is Autolib’ you can try. It is an electric car sharing service available in Paris since 2011. This self-service electric car only costs 9 euros per 30 minutes and all you have to do is subscribe with your international license and your passport!


(Ecotourism Chapter 2: Doing Green)


Now that you are moving about in Ecotourism style, let’s do some real green tourism in Paris. Paris has more than 400 green spaces including famous ones such as Jardin des Tuileries and Jardin du Luxembourg. But there are more than just strolling in parks in Paris to do something green.


* SSE Treasure Hunt

One of the principles of ecotourism suggests that when eco traveling, it should build environmental and social awareness as well as provide meaningful interpretative learning experiences. In urban ecotourism, we provide treasure hunt. Widetrip offers Social and Solidarity Economy Treasure Hunt for tourists to discover many local actors in Paris working on environmental issues, sustainable development or fair trade businesses. These tours are meant to be fun as well as meaningful and reflective. The tours will allow tourists from different cultures to come together, work together towards ‘treasure’ and discuss their opinions about the issues raised during the tour.


The tours are conducted in many areas in Paris such as 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th and 19th arrondissement. If you are interested in engaging in real ecotourism in the heart of Paris, you should check out our tour in 9th arrondissement. It is more than just Opera House. You will discover local actors who constantly try to support local life and places that are lesser-visited.  Or if you want to learn more about the local projects on environment and sustainable development in less touristic area of Paris, you should join our tour in 13th arrondissement.


* Cité Fleurie

It is the oldest artist community left in Paris as well as the oldest green space because these structures have been built with recycled materials in 1878. It is an artistic way to enjoy ecotourism because It is still used as artists’ studios. In the past, it has been used by some of the famous artists such as Gauguin and Modigliani.


* Cité des Fleurs

First of all, don’t get confused with Cité Fleurie mentioned above. And second of all, this street in Paris is one of the most unique green oasis you can find when you are eco travelling in Paris. It was first built in 1847 and it was interesting to find out that when residents first moved in 19th century, they were asked to plant 3 flowering trees per property. And when you visit this street today, you can see how the trees have grown and are providing tranquility in bustling city to both locals and tourists.


* Flower Tower

When you visit Hauts-de-Malesherbes garden near Gare Saint-Lazare, you will stumble upon a tower covered in flowers. It was built by famous architect Edouard François and botanist Patrick Blanc. The building is iconic yet environmental-friendly.


* The Natural Garden

You saw how perfectly grass was trimmed in Jardin du Luxembourg but it will not be the similar sight in Jardin Naturel. You will see how plants can be spontaneous. There is absolutely no human intervention here, just the plants doing what they please. Isn’t ecotourism all about conserving what we have in their natural habitat?

It is also located next to the famous Père Lachaise cemetery so you can always visit the cemetery if you need a break from your eco travel. However, if you ever feel scared to visit alone, don’t hesitate to come along with Widetrip!


* Shared Garden

And you thought having a garden is impossible in the big city like Paris. You will be surprised by how much local Parisians are passionate about having their own gardens. Due to the circumstances, you can’t always have your own garden in your apartment building so local actors have been working hard to create a common area where local residents can have their own garden. Most famous area for shared garden is 19th arrondissement. Thanks to Espace 19, the local association, there are more than 10 shared garden in 19th arrondissement. Even though the gardens are private, these are the perfect spots to enjoy ecotourism in Paris


* Jardin des Plantes

Even though the garden is maintained by the city, it is for the best! There are so many local plants that you will be surprised to know by the amount. There are secrets and fun facts that you can’t find out in your guide book. So, come with Widetrip today to find out all about the local plants and the meanings behind them.


(Ecotourism Chapter 3: Buying Green)


When we are traveling in the city, often we buy products from big chain stores because firstly, they are convenient and secondly, they are easily accessible because as we said, they are chain stores. But that’s not how we do it in Ecotourism. When you want to eco travel in the right way, there are so many small local stores where you can find similar products and sometimes, it will be in better quality. Buying green in ecotourism can mean many things. You can buy greener souvenirs or greener fruits or vegetables.


* Marché Bio Raspail

This is the place to be if you want everything organic. This Bio market is located in 6th arrondissement and you can find almost everything in organic. From chocolate to wheatgrass. You might find it little pricey but it is a small price to pay to support local farmers and isn’t that what ecotourism is all about?


* Drawing

Stop buying Eiffel Tower keychain or Croissant magnet as your souvenir! That is not how you do ecotourism. They are mass-manufactured products and so-not-unique. How about your artwork inspired and drawn right here in Paris? Widetrip offers many walking and drawing tours around Paris for ecotourism tourists to exchange their thoughts on beautiful places in Paris and portray them in your own artwork! Now, that is a true one-of-a-kind souvenir!


* Mouffetard district

Why shop at Champs-Élysées when you can shop in local Parisian style? Montorgueil is one of the oldest district in Paris where a lot of old local Parisian shops are still opened. There are many hidden streets with local gems. And to be in ecotourism spirit, we should all support the small local shops where not many tourists know about. If you ever need a guide to walk with you, you know where to find us!


* Dupleks

Dupleks is a small shop located along Canal Saint-Martin. This shop is not only trendy in terms of fashion but also in terms of environmentally-friendly. Because their products are made only with natural or recycled fabrics.


* Ekobo

These simple designed home ware products are made with Vietnamese bamboo which is one of the most renewable resources. Their high-quality products are not only raising awareness of the environmental issues but also supporting the remote area all the way in Vietnam. This can be one of the most perfect souvenirs you can get from your ecotourism in Paris


* Buzibi

Now we have tried Vélib, the public bicycles in Paris. It is time to get one of your own. Buzibi, the Paris-made shop offers smart selection of electric bikes. If you are not ready to buy your own, you can also rent it!


(Ecotourism Chapter 4: Staying Green)


* Hotels with green labels

If you are on an ecotourism in Paris, look for the hotels either with La Clef Verte or European eco-label. They are the hotels that take more environmentally-friendly actions such as in water consumption, energy usage, waste as well as raising awareness to their guests. Some of the hotels with these labels include Best Western Premier Regent’s Garden or Hôtel Radisson Blu Trocadéro Dokhan’s.


* Hotel with own kitchen garden

Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel hotel has one of the biggest kitchen garden in Paris. They grown their own herbs, vegetables, fruits and they even have beehives for honey. How great it will be to have organic food grown within hotel in the heart of Paris?


(Ecotourism Chapter 5: Eating Green)


* Le Foodist

Cooking classes are booming in Tourism in Paris. But this is not like the others because your French chef will bring you to their favorite local markets and teach you how to pick organic food in the right way. After picking up these fresh fruits and vegetables, you will learn up to 3 recipes and get to eat those cuisines you cooked with hand-picked vegetables.


* Bio Burger

Eating green doesn’t mean always eating fruits and vegetables in ecotourism. You can still eat your favorite fast-food in green style. Bio Burger located in both 2nd and 9th arrondissement, will offer you fast-food style burger made with organic food. When we say organic, everything from bun, meat, cheese, salad and even sauce is organic!