Explore the romantic capital of France with an eco-friendly twist! Here is a complete Paris sustainable travel guide that will allow you to discover this unique city and experience an unforgettable trip whilst reducing your carbon footprint.
Ah, Paris – the city of lights and romance. Whether you are visiting for business or pleasure, there is no denying that this iconic metropolis can transport you to a world full of culture and beauty. But it does not come without its costs – both financially and environmentally.
It can be hard to make sustainable choices when travelling abroad, but with some small steps toward better tourism practices, you can feel good about taking in all that Paris has to offer whilst also leaving a light footprint behind.
And as overtourism grows and continues to negatively impact the places we visit, learning about responsible travel and adopting eco-friendly habits is increasingly essential.
In this guide, we will show you how, through advice and ideas, to get around sustainably and find greener accommodations and vegan restaurants with 10 practical eco-friendly tips.
Read on for our ultimate sustainable travel guide to Paris – no more guilty feelings after those croissants!
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- What does sustainable travel mean?
- What is Paris doing to be more sustainable?
- Best time to visit Paris (without the crowds)
- How to get around Paris sustainably?
- Best green hotels & B&Bs in Paris
- Best vegan & vegetarian restaurants in Paris
- Best (eco-friendly) things to do in Paris
- Tips for reducing your eco-impact in Paris
- 1- Book direct flight & carbon offset
- 2- Use green methods of transport
- 3- Stay in eco-conscious accommodation
- 4- Bring a reusable water bottle & use free fountains
- 5- Eat at local French restaurants
- 6- Support small independent shops
- 7- Be zero-waste & avoid plastic
- 8- Hire a local guide
- 9- Respect the local culture & heritage
- 10- Prioritise slow travel
What does sustainable travel mean?
Before we get into this sustainable tourism guide to Paris, it is essential to understand the definition and purpose of sustainable travel – which does not mean stopping travelling completely!
Sustainable travel means exploring the world whilst being aware of your surroundings and having a positive social, environmental and economic impact on the places you visit.
It could be by adopting greener methods of transport, staying in more eco-friendly accommodations, eating local and seasonal foods, or avoiding harmful activities to wildlife and nature.
Ultimately, the primary goal of sustainable travel is to create a better and more viable long-term future for tourism.
As a result, in response to climate change and the negative impacts of travelling on our planet, ecotourism was born and today continues to expand.
According to The International Ecotourism Society (TIES), here is how we can define ecotourism: “responsible travel to natural areas that conserve the environment, sustains the well-being of the local people and involves interpretation and education”.
In other words, ecotourism means providing positive experiences to visitors and hosts whilst developing a culture of environmental respect and having a favourable social and economic impact.
So on your next trip, why not adopt more eco-friendly habits?
But do not feel pressured! Go at your own pace and slowly change how you travel – one step at a time.
More inspiration for your green adventures:
- Best Travel Apps for Exploring Sustainably
- 15 Travel Books to Inspire Your Next Eco-Adventure
- Best Ecotourism Activities Around the World
Want to surprise a friend or loved one? Check out this article:
15 Best Eco-Friendly Gift Ideas for Travellers
What is Paris doing to be more sustainable?
Intending to become the greenest capital in Europe by 2030, Paris, the beautiful City of Light and one of the most popular tourist destinations is making a conscious effort to be more sustainable each day.
The plan formulated by the French government involves introducing more green public transportation, such as electric scooters, bicycles and electric Seine cruises, and pursuing a waste reduction to reduce air pollution.
The city also plans on becoming an example of sustainable tourism with rooftop farms, more vegan restaurants, urban parks and new green spaces where tourists can interact directly with nature whilst engaging in low-carbon activities such as biking or walking.
Paris is prioritising the environment and building a greener future for its residents and visitors alike. Now more than ever, it is possible to enjoy the French capital responsibly! Keep on reading to know more 🙂
Want to plan a more eco-friendly road trip? Check out this article:
How to Plan the Ultimate (Eco-Friendly) Road Trip
Shop the printable travel itinerary
Create your dream city break and live an unforgettable eco-adventure!
Best time to visit Paris (without the crowds)
The best times to visit Paris without crowds are spring (April-May) and autumn (September-October). These months offer nice mild weather without too many tourists and lower rates, which is the perfect combination to discover the best highlights and landmarks of the romantic French capital. You can also enjoy a peaceful picnic, stroll along the Seine or pop into iconic cafes with fewer people vying for tables!
Summer can also be a lovely time to visit Paris, which experiences warm temperatures and plenty of activities and festivals between June and August, making it perfect for sightseeing, but often with crowded streets and high rates.
Generally speaking, avoid visiting Paris in August and during the Christmas holidays (peak times). The city becomes overly busy and expensive, making it difficult to enjoy and explore properly.
But no matter what season you choose, I am sure you will have a wonderful experience in this magical city!
Personal note – From my experience and having lived there for a while, I love Paris in spring, when the flowers blossom, the weather becomes sunnier, and the green spaces reopen. I also love wintertime – I know the city is busy, but I love the capital and its atmosphere around Christmas. A ramble through Montmartre during that time of year is one of my favourite things to do! Regarding summer, it has never been a season I enjoy, as most of my friends and I left the city to go to our families or the sea.
Need inspiration for your next city break? Check out this article: 3 Magical Days in Paris: Complete Itinerary + Map
How to get around Paris sustainably?
By public transport
The best way to get around Paris sustainably is to use public transportation. The Paris public transportation system includes the metro, bus, tram, and RER (regional express train) network. A single ticket allows you to use all four modes of transportation, and a day pass only costs 8.50€. Additionally, the Paris public transportation system is one of the most efficient in the world, so you can be sure you will get to your destination quickly and without any hassle.
By bike (and scooter)
Paris is also a perfect city for biking, as it has an extensive network of bike lanes. You can either bring your own bike or rent one from one of the many Velib stations throughout the city. A day pass for the Velib system costs only 1€, and you can return your bike to any station when you have finished. And if you need a boost, rent an electric bike or scooter – that is what more and more locals do to move around and go to work!
Of course, one of the best ways to see Paris is simply by walking around. Not only is it free, but it is also a great way to get some exercise and fresh air – and reduce your environmental impact. Plus, walking allows you to appreciate your surroundings and explore parts of the city that you might not otherwise see if you rely on public transportation or biking.
Personal note – In my experience, the metro is the easiest and most efficient way to get around. You can also explore by foot, but the city is vast, and not all attractions are close to each other, so I would not hesitate to focus on an area each day and hop on the metro to move around.
Finally, if you want to explore outside of Paris, opt for trains or rent an electric car – depending on where you want to go and for how long. Blablacar (carpool) is also popular in France and perfect if you want to move around whilst reducing your impact and expenses!
Fancy a road trip across the South of France? Check out this article: South of France Road Trip: 1-Week Itinerary
Best green hotels & B&Bs in Paris
1- Eden Lodge Paris
Eden Lodge Paris is one of the best luxurious and green places to stay in the French capital. Located in the heart of Paris, this unique eco-friendly hotel is a perfect option for any traveller. And with spacious yet comfortable rooms and attentive staff, it ensures its guests have a memorable experience without sacrificing their sustainable values.
Awarded the international Green Globe certification, this Parisian eco-lodge features many innovative sustainable practices, ranging from savings to environmental protection. For example, more than 82% of electricity comes from renewable sources, and all heating and cooling systems are functioning using efficient thermal insulation methods.
Additionally, the green practices employed by Eden Lodge include water management and waste reduction. The materials used for building and furnishing aspects are also locally sourced where possible and eco-friendly whenever available.
Finally, its convenient location puts guests close to all of the most iconic sights in Paris, like the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame Cathedral. So if you are looking for an unforgettable eco-friendly stay in the City of Lights, Eden Lodge Paris should be your first stop!
Address: 175 Rue de Charonne, 75011 Paris
2- Hidden Hotel Paris
Situated in a beautiful area of Paris, Hidden Hotel is another ideal place to stay and experience the best of the capital whilst reducing your impact.
You can find this eco-friendly boutique hotel within easy access to some of the most iconic landmarks in the city, such as Le Louvre, Notre-Dame Cathedral, Musée d’Orsay and more. Therefore, you can take advantage of luxury comfort whilst immersing yourself in French culture.
And with sustainability in mind, this lovely hotel is determined to lower its carbon footprint. Its many eco-practices include operating a green energy program, recycling whenever possible, selecting furniture made with natural materials, using linen and towels made from sustainable and organic cotton and cleaning with biodegradable products throughout the hotel.
Plus, with international standards for wastewater treatment, Hidden Hotel Paris provides travellers with confidence that they can enjoy their stay guilt-free, knowing sustainability was top of mind during their entire visit.
And to top it off, all rooms come with Petit déjeuner, so you will not have to worry about breakfast (including croissants) every morning! Get ready for a unique and low-impact stay tucked away in one of the most beautiful areas of Paris!
Address: 30 Rue de l’Arc de Triomphe, 75017 Paris
3- Hôtel de la Porte Dorée
For Paris-bound travellers who want luxurious and affordable accommodation whilst still being kind to the environment, Hôtel de la Porte Dorée is a perfect choice. Located in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, this gorgeous eco-friendly hotel holds the Green Key certification and provides a comfortable stay with all the amenities you need without sacrificing sustainability.
To reduce waste, the hotel recycles and donates used items and ensures the least amount of materials possible are used in their suite furnishings. And to minimise their energy use, they have installed efficient climate control systems with eco-friendly bulbs saving electricity without sacrificing lighting quality.
Plus, you can enjoy green extras such as complimentary sustainable toiletries and an Executive Chef who uses local ingredients to create delicious meals perfect for vegetarians and eco-minded travellers.
Finally, Hôtel de la Porte Dorée also provides unique features such as bike rentals, electric scooters and a charging station for electric vehicles! Whether it is a romantic weekend getaway or an entire week of restful nights, it has something for everyone.
Address: 273 Avenue Daumesnil, 75012 Paris
READ MORE: Where To Stay in Paris: 8 Best Areas (& Hotels).
Planning a city trip to Venice? Check out this article: Sustainable Travel Guide to Venice, Italy
Best vegan & vegetarian restaurants in Paris
1- Le Potager de Charlotte
If you are looking for a tasty and unique vegan restaurant in Paris, look no further than Le Potager de Charlotte. This hidden gem serves delicious, locally-sourced healthy dishes in an intimate setting.
Whether you are eating lunch or dinner, enjoy plant-based and gourmet cuisine, like their roasted veggie udon and grilled aubergine with parmesan. And those with a sweet tooth will not be disappointed either with homemade desserts like unique lemon cheesecake that keep guests coming back for more.
Address: 12 Rue Louise-Émilie de la Tour d’Auvergne, 75009 Paris
2- Jah Jah By Le Tricycle
For another enjoyable vegan dining experience during your trip to Paris, try Jah Jah By Le Tricycle. This little colourful restaurant is a godsend for vegans looking for traditional food with an exciting twist.
Located in the heart of Paris, this unique and cosy spot offers an array of delicious plant-based and organic Afro-Caribbean-inspired dishes full of flavours, including veg bowls and vegan burgers. It is the perfect place for a well-deserved break after a long day of sightseeing!
Address: 11 Rue des Petites Écuries, 75010 Paris
3- Soya Cantine Bio
Last but not least, one of the best vegan places to eat in Paris is Soya Cantine Bio. Located right at the heart of the capital, this restaurant offers a collection of delicious and healthy vegan dishes made with love and care.
From freshly prepared soups to baked vegetables and mushroom pies – there is something for everyone. Not only are their recipes paraben-free, but their ingredients are all organic. From their warm service to their hearty meals, you can enjoy your dinner in a simple and industrial-chic setting, knowing that it is good for you and the environment.
Address: 20 Rue de la Pierre Levée, 75011 Paris
Looking for the top things to do in Paris? Check out this article: 10 Eco-Friendly & Fun Things to Do in Paris
Best (eco-friendly) things to do in Paris
Here are 10 fun eco-friendly things to do and see in Paris, with the best highlights and activities:
- Visit the Eiffel Tower, the Trocadero and the Champs de Mars
- Explore the Louvre Museum and the Tuileries garden
- Stroll through Montmartre and visit the Sacre Coeur
- Enjoy local and vegan French cuisine
- Walk along the Seine and stop by Notre Dame Cathedral
- Take a guided tour of the Paris Opera building
- Ramble through the Luxembourg Gardens
- Admire pieces of art at the Musée d’Orsay
- Go back in time from the Palace of Versailles
- Shop for vintage clothing and secondhand books
Planning a city trip to Prague? Check out this article: Sustainable Travel Guide to Prague, Czech Republic
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Tips for reducing your eco-impact in Paris
1- Book direct flight & carbon offset
Once you have decided on your travel dates, your next step would be to select a direct flight to Paris.
Paris has two main airports easily accessible and well-connected to most cities and capitals. So if possible, choose a non-stop journey, as taking off and landing consumes more fuel than cruising.
Finally, you can offset your impact by investing in local projects and communities but do not use carbon offset as a complete solution.
Combine it with other sustainable practices, like prioritising other methods of transport (bus or train), avoiding single-use plastic on the plane (bring a reusable mug or bottle) and carefully packing your suitcase to be ready for your eco-friendly adventure.
2- Use green methods of transport
Be a responsible traveller and prioritise exploring the capital on foot! It is the perfect place to wander and immerse yourself in French culture. Not only will you reduce your impact on the environment, but it will also allow you to slow down, truly appreciate your surroundings and discover hidden areas you might otherwise miss.
If walking is difficult or the place you want to reach is too far, use public transport. Thankfully, Paris has an extensive public transportation network, including metros, buses, trams and trains – easy and reliable.
Finally, another fun way to explore the capital is by bike or electric scooter. You can either bring your own or rent one from one of the many Velib stations throughout the city. It is ideal for a day of sightseeing without damaging our planet!
3- Stay in eco-conscious accommodation
Once you have booked your trip to Paris, reserve your city getaway at a hotel or B&B that adopts eco-responsible practices.
Many accommodations are working to become greener by innovating and reducing their impact. Take a look, for example, at these three sustainable hotels and bed and breakfasts:
- Eden Lodge Paris
- Hidden Hotel Paris
- Hôtel de la Porte Dorée
How to know if a hotel or guesthouse is eco-friendly?
Doing your research is essential. Go beyond greenwashing and find a responsible retreat that helps you explore Paris whilst leaving a positive impact.
As guidance, read the hotel description, look for certification or statement of commitment to sustainability, or search for locally owned places.
And if you want more, check out Bookdifferent and Ecobnb.
4- Bring a reusable water bottle & use free fountains
The good thing about Paris is that tap water is drinkable, and the city is full of free fountains offering fresh and cold water – so bring your reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, even in winter! No more reason to buy plastic bottled water during your stay.
Check out the app Les Fontaines de Paris to access a map of all the water fountains in Paris.
In addition, pay attention to your water consumption (and it should be the case whatever your destination!). It means: having shorter showers, properly turning off the taps and not washing your hotel towels daily. We often forget the latter, but reusing your towel or bringing your own will save a lot of water and do good for the planet.
5- Eat at local French restaurants
When travelling to Paris, being conscious of what you eat is key to leaving a lower footprint and being a responsible explorer.
Ask the locals where they like to eat, buy your food at local markets, and go to local vegetarian and vegan restaurants supporting farmers and fresh produce from the nearby area.
Plus, more and more French restaurants are reinventing classic dishes with a vegan and vegetarian twist, so you will not have to compromise on your trip.
Here are three of the best restaurants in Paris for vegans and vegetarians:
- Le Potager de Charlotte
- Jah Jah By Le Tricycle
- Soya Cantine Bio
And if you want more, check out HappyCow.
6- Support small independent shops
The souvenirs we bring home matter as much as how we travel. Being mindful of your shopping habits is another way to become more responsible when travelling to Paris and contribute to the local economy.
Shop in independent stores, support authentic and local artisans, ask questions to learn more about the product you want to buy and its origin, decline objects made with animal products and refuse single-use plastic bags.
In addition, be careful of tourist traps and illegal vendors – follow your own judgement.
7- Be zero-waste & avoid plastic
Always pick up your trash or any you come across, and avoid plastic at all costs!
The best way to reduce waste on a trip to Paris is to arrive prepared. That is why considering what you bring with you is so important. Here are some ideas:
- Reusable water bottles (reduce single-use plastic) ⇢ my favourite bottle
- Eco-friendly tote bags (reduce single-use plastic)
- Travel towels (reduce water usage)
- Cutlery and containers (reduce single-use plastic)
- Reusable straws (reduce single-use plastic)
- Biodegradable shampoos (reduce toxic chemicals)
- Zero-waste sunscreens (reduce single-use plastic & toxic chemicals) ⇢ my favourite sunscreen
- Solid toiletries (reduce water usage)
- Portable solar chargers (reduce energy usage) ⇢ check out these portable chargers
- Reusable travel mugs (reduce single-use cup waste) ⇢ my favourite mug
IMPORTANT – take care of your belongings and watch out for pickpockets, especially in busy tourist areas such as the Eiffel Tower and Montmartre. Be also careful when travelling in the metro.
Check out this page for more ideas on eco-friendly products & gear.
8- Hire a local guide
One of the best ways to discover Paris and its remarkable heritage is to join a guided tour with a local guide. It will ensure your money goes back to the local economy and is a great way to connect with residents and better understand the rich culture of the French capital.
Check out this website for more details on local tours: https://www.withlocals.com/experiences/france/paris/tours/.
9- Respect the local culture & heritage
Treat people and their surroundings with respect. Sustainable tourism in Paris is not only about the environment but also about the locals. So be respectful, smile and try to learn a few French words 🙂
It also applies to cultural sites. Be quiet, dress appropriately (especially when visiting religious sites), do not touch anything and feel free to ask if you have questions.
10- Prioritise slow travel
One of the primary causes of overtourism is day trippers, who typically do not stay long (less than 20 hours) and do not contribute much to the local economy.
This mass tourism phenomenon destroys cultural authenticity and tarnishes the general charm of the capital for tourists and locals. That is why it is essential to learn more about slow travel.
Slow travel is a way of travelling the world, accentuating slowing down and connecting with the places and locals. This approach allows you to take more time to learn about a country and its culture on a deeper level, which can also mean travelling less but staying longer = quality over quantity.
Therefore, if possible, stay in Paris for at least 3 or 4 days. It will allow you to get to know this romantic city better. Plus, you will never run out of things to do and see!
Do you have any other suggestions for sustainable travel & ecotourism in Paris?
Let me know in the comments below!
With love ♡