As president and CEO of Bachelet Holdings, Pierre-Mary Bachelet recently embarked on an ambitious new project to install more than 40,000 square feet of solar panels at the company’s new hotel development in Paris, which is located near France’s largest Tesla center. This article will look at French efforts towards long-term sustainability and the country’s ambitions to establish its capital as the greenest city on the continent.

Interchangeably referred to as the fashion capital, gastronomic capital and cultural capital of the world, Paris has big plans to make its mark in the realms of sustainability too. From making public transport more efficient and accessible to encouraging restaurants to rely on local food producers, the entire city is working towards an ambitious green goal.

As France strives for its long-term target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, Paris’s tourism sector has an incredibly important and high-profile role to play in this transition. In 2019, pre-COVID-19, 29 million people visited Paris – a figure that eclipse’s the French capital’s permanent population by a staggering 13 times.

Although modern travelers continue to bear an unquenchable desire to visit the world’s most iconic locations, they are becoming increasingly socially and environmentally conscious, prioritizing the need to visit these destinations in a responsible way and ensuring that they have a positive (rather than negative) impact on the places they choose to visit.

Responsible travel and sustainability are evolving from a desire to an expectation for tourists today. Visitors to Paris are turning away from mass tourism, seeking to discover the city in a different way, be it exploring alternative neighborhoods or experiencing new activities, with an emphasis on authenticity rather than merely ticking off the major sights .

In the summer of 2021, Paris staged its first ever Sustainable Tourism Conference, bringing together more than 150 institutions, associations and professionals from private and public sectors with the aim of creating concrete proposals on how to promote tourism that has a positive impact.

Deputy Mayor of Paris Frederic Hocquard was in charge of tourism and nightlife. He said that developing resistant and resilient tourism to face crises was a challenge for Paris. Nevertheless, Mr Hocquard pointed out that the sector was already beginning to adapt and detect some benefits, a development that he described as “really positive and encouraging”.

In reality, boasting more than 421 parks and gardens, Paris is already well on the way to becoming not just Europe’s but the world’s greenest city, featuring among Europe’s topmost sustainable cities in terms of green spaces. The French capital is becoming increasingly focused on green initiatives, removing 70,000 parking spaces and dramatically increasing access to various forms of environmentally friendly transportation such as bicycles, scooters and the metro – enabling visitors to see the sights in an environmentally responsible way.

Claire Preece