By Lindsay MacNevin
Paris is simply a beautiful city, full of hope, love and promises, along with some pretty incredible history. Paris is also a city full of eco-friendly hotels, restaurants and a dedicated government that wants its city to be more sustainable. Socially conscious travelers will not have to sacrifice luxury for a light carbon footprint in the city of love.
Check into your room at the Hotel Gavarni, the first independent hotel in Paris to receive the European Ecolabel, and one of the eco-friendliest hotels to stay at in the city. Friendly staff (who all cycle or take public transit) will tell you all about the hotel's green initiatives, including how it's 100% carbon neutral and and powered on 100% renewable energy. Initiatives around the hotel include only changing the sheets and towels at the guest’s request, using eco-friendly detergent and serving only organic and fair trade food. Rooms are quaint and reminiscent of an old France with charming photos and quilts.
Once you have settled in to your room, head to Freegan Pony, one of the most unique and unknown restaurants in the city. Located in an unused warehouse under the Boulevard Périphérique, the space is outfitted with used sofas, chairs and tables. Numerous professional chefs and volunteers operate Freegan Pony and the concept here is simple: fight food waste. Every single thing on the menu here is made with leftover food that wasn't sold during the day from the Rungis Food Market. Every day is a new menu, with new chefs and new experiences. Did we mention at the end of the meal you pay what you want? Not wanting to shut anyone out of good food, the philosophy here is that you pay what you think the food was worth, or how much you can afford. After dining, stick around the Freegan Pony where you can buy cheap beer and wine from the on-site bar.
Start your day off right at Juice It, a chain with many locations throughout the city offering cold pressed juices. Juice It is dedicated to only using 100% organic fruits that come from French farms. We suggest grabbing a croissant from any local bakery along your way, as they just never disappoint.
There are a number of ways to get around the city but one of the most popular ways is the Vélib bike share program. With 20,000 bikes and 1,800 stations, it’s easy to make your way around the city. Spend the morning browsing the stores including sustainable shoe company Veja which uses silk instead of leather. Also check out Centre Commercial just down the road where you can find clothing and gifts from designers who focus on fair trade, ethics and sustainability.
After shopping, head to Le Potager du Marais for a lovely lunch in a cozy atmosphere. This vegetarian and vegan restaurant is one of the few in Paris that offers traditional French food, done vegan. Think eggplant caviar, seaweed tartar, mushroom pate, vegetable gratin and a delicious quinoa burger. The options are incredible here and all of the food used is both local and organic. As a bonus, the restaurant is overflowing with lush plants, exposed beam ceilings and friendly staff.
Walk off that delicious lunch by taking a stroll through the grounds of Jardin du Luxembourg, an inner city oasis full of bright flowers and greenery. There are orchards to explore, an apiary to learn about beekeeping and let’s not forget about the incredible Luxembourg Palace standing tall in the background.
Head on over to Café Ginger for some delicious dinner, whether you are looking for vegetarian, vegan or just incredible organic and fresh food. Rated as one of the best vegan restaurants in the city, it pays to make a reservation here. Count on sitting at a shared table, trying things like vegan quinoa beer and chowing down on their incredible dinner tarts. The daily menu changes so it is always a surprise; just make sure to leave room for dessert.
Ask the locals where the hottest pop-ups are, especially if you are visiting in the summer. Many abandoned train stations are now being turned into social spaces complete with mini-farms, gardens, restaurants, dance floors, games and bars.
Don’t bother leaving the hotel to get breakfast for a couple reasons. First up you can get a fair trade and organic breakfast from the hotel itself which is both delicious and quite French with a lot of pastry options. Secondly, not much is open on Sunday mornings in Paris.
Visiting Paris without seeing the Eiffel Tower would be a crime so that’s the day activity we suggest. In order to keep your carbon footprint light, we suggest either grabbing a bike or walking there. If you couldn't resist the Eiffel Tower earlier in your weekend, then walk around Montmartre and discover the Sacre Coeur.
Ins and OutsFly into Charles de Gaulle Airport. We suggest taking the train; there are many different options to the hotel. Once in the city use the bike sharing program, electric tuk tuks or your own two feet to get around in this walkable city.
When Lindsay isn't jet-setting around the world or racing to hit deadlines, she can be found drinking a pint of craft beer watching the Blue Jays game. As a freelance travel, beer and wine writer she spends most of her time on the go, seeking out incredible experiences. She can often be seen losing herself in a good book, tasting delicious wines and expanding her ever-growing collection of beer growlers from around the world.