Enjoy the City of Romance - without having to feel guilty about polluting the environment
Issue: Sep 2009
Cycling past the Notre Dame on a rented bicycle from Velib
Photo credit: Mairie de Paris
Eco-friendly travellers visiting Paris can now have their cake and eat it. Shopping, wining and dining in the City of Lights do not have to come at a cost to the environment - especially now that even the chic Parisians are going green. Just add bio ("organic") and écolo ("ecologically responsible") to your French phrasebook, follow some of the tips in this guide, and you're on your way to a guilt-free holiday in the world's most romantic capital.
The city centre is well connected to airports by metro (subway) and buses, so there's usually no need to take a taxi. But if you must, take a Verture hybrid taxi that emits half the CO2 of a normal, same-sized car.
Look out for architectural details on your walking tour of Paris. Enjoy a Parisian al fresco lunch near the Marais
The metro is handy, but you can also explore the city on bicycle using the Velib, the public bike rental system. Over 10,000 bikes can be picked up and dropped off throughout the city at about a thousand locations.
Paris is also a great city for walking. Ditch your heels for your trainers to discover beautiful, historical neighbourhoods such as Ile Saint Louis, the Marais and the Latin Quarter.
Where to go
Enjoy the sights with a cruise down the River Seine. Read a book or picnic by the River Seine
- Bois de Boulogne
Larger than New York's Central Park and London's Hyde Park, the Bois de Boulogne, with its green wooded areas, is a favourite of joggers, families, horse riders and bird watchers. (Mº Porte Maillot)
- Jardins des Serres d'Auteuil
A well-kept secret, this beautiful 19th-century garden, with its magnificent greenhouses, is home to some 5,000 exotic plants from all over the world. (Mº Porte d'Auteuil)
- Le Ballon Air de Paris
For panoramic views of the city, take a ride in a hot-air balloon that also monitors air pollution. Powered by an eco-friendly hydroelectric winch, the balloon can transport up to 30 people at a time. (Parc André Citroën; Mº Balard).
- River cruise
Many of Paris's architectural gems are located along the River Seine, so a cruise is one way of enjoying the sights with the least impact on the environment. Bateaux-Mouches is a classic choice, but if you are looking for something more luxurious, opt for the dinner cruise on Don Juan II (Yachts de Paris).
- Les Bains de Saadia
This écolo Marrakech-styled hammam-spa is detox heaven. Only organic and fair-trade products are used here for guilt-free pampering. (30 rue des Solitaires; Mº Place des Fêtes)
Organic food markets are held every Saturday morning at Boulevard des Batignolles (Mº Rome) and every Sunday morning at Boulevard Raspail (Mº Rennes). Otherwise there's Le Rendez-vous de la Nature (96 rue Mouffetard; Mº Place-Monge), the city's biggest organic grocer.
Traditionally the French may be hearty meat-eaters, but vegetarian/organic options are increasingly popular amongst the health-conscious Parisians. Favourites include Cibus (5 rue Molière; Mº Pyramides) and Au Coin bio (Marché des Enfants-Rouges, 39 rue de Bretagne; Mº Filles-du-Calvaire). Be warned though - don't expect Gallic cooking.
Slather on the creams, without the guilt, at organic cosmetics boutique Canzi
And of course, Paris is about shopping. Green fashionistas will have a field day at the ultra-trendy Lieu Commun (5 rue Filles-du-Calvaire; Mº Filles-du-Calvaire), snapping up highly coveted Veja organic sneakers and hip organic cotton T-shirts.
In the same Marais neighbourhood are Ekyog (23 rue des Francs Bourgeois; Mº Saint-Paul), a chic boutique offering elegant women's wear made of organic and fair-trade cotton, silk and bamboo; and the highly popular Alter Mundi Mode (9 rue de Rivoli; Mº Saint-Paul).
Also nearby and well worth a visit is organic cosmetics boutique Canzi (2-4 rue Ferdinand-Duval; Mº Saint-Paul). Here you find precious beauty creams, lotions and oils in their purest, natural form. Check out their Canzi Hydrosol Floral Waters, the latest detox craze in Paris.
Your toddler can be stylish, too, thanks to Bébés en Vadrouille (47 boulevard Henri IV; Mº Bastille), which sells the cutest outfits made of organic cotton. The shop supports fair trade and promotes the livelihood and culture of artisans in developing countries such as Peru, Guatemala, Togo and Laos.
Citadines Paris Saint-Germain-des-Prés sits on the banks of the River Seine
Citadines Paris Saint-Germain-des-Prés
53 ter, quai des Grands Augustins
This chic apart'hotel is in a legendary quarter. It sits on the banks of the Seine opposite the Pont Neuf and area with plenty of cafes, antiques dealers, art galleries and stylish fashion boutiques.
Your accommodation caters for every member of the family. Besides a business corner and high speed internet access, the apart'hotel has amenities for babies and babysitting services. Animal lovers will be glad to know that pets are allowed in this establishment.
The Citadines Parise Louvre is just minutes away from the world-famous Louvre Museum
Citadines Paris Louvre
8, rue de Richelieu
Housed in a magnificent historical building dating back to the 1900s, this apart'hotel is just minutes away from the Louvre. The shops of the Rue St-Honoré, the Rue de Rivoli and the underground Louvre Carrousel are just a stone's throw away.
Next to the residence, the gardens of the Palais-Royal, surrounded by galleries and restaurants, offer visitors a green haven. For business travellers, the Apart'Hotel is close to banks, the Stock Exchange and the government offices of the Left Bank.