In addition to its rich culture, France is making great strides in becoming a leader in sustainability. As Europe grapples with climate change, cities in France have unrolled a variety of creative green initiatives. Sustainable urban planning, eco-friendly policies and energy saving infrastructure are just a few examples. Let’s explore the innovative cities contributing to a brighter future.
1. Grenoble: Clean transport meet Alpine landscapes
Thrust into the limelight after being awarded the title of European Green Capital in 2022, Grenoble has long been a popular outdoor sports destination. Nestled in the French Alps, the city is intimately connected to nature and has heavily invested in renewable energy, including hydroelectric and geothermal power. In addition to its energy initiatives, Grenoble has an extensive network of buses and trams, making it a model city for clean and efficient public transportation. It’s also a great jumping off point for an Alpine adventure year-round.
Grenoble Copyright atout-france-phovoir
2. Nantes: A green oasis on the Loire
The 2013 European Green Capital has maintained its commitment to the environment over the past decade. Nantes continues to live up to its motto Make the city a garden, with a wide variety of accessible green spaces in the city centre, including the famous Jardin des Plantes. Exploring the city is easy on foot, as urban planning was done with pedestrians in mind. If you prefer cycling, 200 kilometres of bike lanes are slated to open between now and 2026, connecting the city with 24 neighbouring suburbs.
Les Machines de l’île, housed inside Nantes’ former shipyards (photo © Franck Tomps
3. Dijon: A sustainable haven in the heart of Burgundy
A finalist for the European Green Capital in 2022 (but ultimately ceding victory to Grenoble), Dijon produces more than just world-famous wine and mustard. The charming mid-sized city in Burgundy privileges eco-friendly construction, stewards parks and green spaces (such as Parc de la Colombière) and consistently ranks highly in quality of life. (The city snagged 20th place in the 2023 edition of Les villes où il fait bon à vivre.) Situated in the lush countryside, many residents take advantage of local farmer’s markets, and there’s nothing better than enjoying a local farm-to-table meal.
Dijon Copyright Alain DOIRE Bourgogne-Franche-Comte Tourisme
Eco-conscious French cities make it easier than ever to keep your holiday sustainable. So, visit more than one if you can! Getting between cities is a snap on the TGV OUI, whisking you from one green city to the next, without adding to your carbon footprint.
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