How to Stay Eco Friendly on Your Visit to Paris
Even if we usually hold ourselves to impeccably high standards sorting between several recycling bins in our kitchens, when travelling it can be tricky to keep things on the top line.
Well, the good news is that Paris has wholeheartedly embraced the Eco trend with a range of policies to support green living. Rest assured your visit to this historic capital shouldn’t leave so much as a footprint if you follow our tips!
Let’s start with the basics and then work our way up to some trendy takes on this new important trend.
La Tour Eiffel sourced from Unsplash
Biking is eco-friendly
What could be more beautiful or French than whimsically cycling through the streets of Paris at slow speed, drinking in the scenery? Paris, on balance, is relatively bike friendly, perhaps not to the extent of Amsterdam or Copenhagen, but definitely more so than London.
As a cautious cycler myself, I thought I’d flag up the areas which are well organised for cyclists.
On Sundays and bank holidays, numerous neighbourhoods close down traffic to allow pedestrians and peddlers on two wheels to prosper. These quartiers include, but are not limited to: The Marais, Sentier, Aligre, Canal Saint-Martin Nord and Mouffetard.
So you’re sold on the bike thing? “Vendu pour faire du velo!”, (Sorry, couldn’t resist – alliteration). Where can you get your hands on a bike?
You may already have heard of the vélib’ an ingenious concept launched by la Marie de Paris in 2007 to give citizens the convenience of a cheap, eco-friendly method of transport. The invented word vélib references both the French word for ‘bike’, vélo, and ‘freedom’, liberté.
Rental will set you back just €1 for the first 0-30 or 30-60 minutes, with an extra €1 charged for every 30 minutes added on.
Another purse friendly option is the jovially named “Paris à velo c’est sympa”. Founded in 1992 the shop and bike rental service predates the city’s vélib bikes by several years: “It’s called experience”, offers one of their relaxed employees who told us he can offer us a city bike with a very comfortable ride for just 15€ per day.
Situated near Richard Lenoir in a genuinely authentic neighbourhood of Paris 11ème, you’ll discover one of my favourite parts of town cycling off on your rental.
Boulevard Richard Lenoir, 75011, sourced from Wikimedia Commons
Gardening is eco-friendly
A new initiative of Paris Mayor Anne Hildago was to bring more greenery to central Paris. This project is presented in all its glory in the beautiful small house that you’ll find in the centre of Parc Bercy.
Greenhouse in Bercy park, 75012, sourced from Wikimedia Commons
I can’t say that I haven’t at some point dreamed of living in it, then lost a quarter of an hour to ‘researching’ – “Comment devenir gardien d’un parc parisien?”
Citizens are welcome to start their own projects nurturing green shoots on rooftops. If you fancy following in their green footsteps to appreciate their artistry, it’s here.
View of apartments at 17 Rue Chanoinesse as seen from Notre Dame, 75004, sourced from Wikimedia Commons
Artisan activists are eco-friendly
Many small artisans admirably spare a thought for the environment despite their profit margins being thin.
In the 18th arrondisement we find La Recyclerie . Fully equipped and 100% dedicated to recycling they have everything from a vegetable garden to bee hives(!) la Recyclerie’s mission statement reads something like this: “A Third Place is housed in an former station, giving it enormous space for Paris.
La Recyclerie, sourced from Wikimedia Commons
As well as being beautiful, it is also the perfect antidote to anyone feeling claustrophobic in small Parisian spaces. *A note for anyone reading this article hot off the press – La Recyclerie will close its doors from the 20th December until the 4th of January, 2019..
Opening soon, Kimia is the brainchild of Fabienne a young mum, who wanted to create the family friendly, aesthetically pleasing space she herself struggled to find.
The young mumpreneur has also announced that her space will be the first zero waste café of its kind. She has raised €12,000 thanks to a crowd-funding campaign on Ulule, and is set to open in April 2019. A hop and a skip from Paris, the 300m squared space is in Bagnolet.
Eco-friendly junk food : Bio Burger
Image sourced from Unsplash
Perhaps you have a craving for a burger? You’ve hiked around town in the winter chill and fancy rewarding yourself with some comfort food. The problem is, fast food is not usually synonymous with eco friendly. What to do..
Luckily a clever restaurant in the 9ème, an affluent yet cool village like neighbourhood in the middle of town, has thought of that. Bio Burger offers you delectable organic burgers with ethically and organically sourced ingredients. This fast food joint doesn’t leave a bad taste in terms of waste, as clients are playfully involved in the sorting process of packaging and leftovers.
La Textilerie is eco-friendly
Is one of my absolute favourite new spots in town. Mixing upcycling, with a lifestyle space for craft lovers to get resources and hang out together, one of the most impressive things about this sewing start up is probably their ethical commitment: The founders urge their customers to cultivate their knowledge of ethically sourced materials. Discover, do, make and create. Here is the website, information exclusively in French.
Image sourced from Unsplash
A talented, eco-friendly Créatrice
An ethical fashion blogger Émilie from Made in Responsible interviewed one of my ultimate Parisian designers, créatrice Lou Ripoll of the brand Bleu Tango. She really does follow the creation process from beginning to end. The patterns start as watercolours or sketches, which then make their way onto the delicate blouses and dresses in her collection.
Image sourced from Unsplash
A lot of thought has gone into not only the material sourced in France and Italy, and the European fabrication, but also a digital printing system that pollutes as little as possible.
These clothes have a sentimental feel about them, are at a good price point as treasured pieces, but not inaccessible. Lovely eco responsible printed fabrics are waiting for you at the boutique in the heart of picturesque Montmartre.
Slow souvenirs are eco-friendly
Shopping is without doubt a great place to start thinking eco-responsibly. You’re probably going to pick up a souvenir or two from your trip here. There’s no harm in a few bits and bobs that will remind you of your recent adventure.
As you’ve read this far in to my eco e-manifesto, I’m guessing you’re not the kind of visitor who’s going to leave town with anything as ridiculous as an Eiffel Tower keychain made in China.
Image sourced from Wikimedia Commons
Markets and museum gift shops are great places to find trinkets that you’ll be happy to keep or pass on to loved ones.
Paris is trying really hard to go green, and hopefully its travelers can support la ville in her eco efforts.