September 27, 2022 – 17:04 BST
Can a city break ever be sustainable? Discover the ultimate guide to a green break in Paris, including a review of 25Hours Hotel and B-Corp eatery Cojean.
Is it possible to enjoy a city break and still be a responsible traveller? When sustainability is high on your priority list, it’s difficult not to feel conflicted about your pledge to the planet when indulging in the joys of holiday planning.
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Luckily, there are several ways to immerse yourself in another city’s culture whilst treading lightly on the planet. If discovering vintage thrift stores, indulging at sustainable eateries, cycling city tours and a dreamy stay in an eco-conscious urban hotel sounds like your kind of tonic, scroll on for the ultimate guide to a sustainable city break in Paris.
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How to get to Paris Thanks to the Eurostar, a trip from the Big Smoke to the heart of Paris is just shy of two hours – and it’s easily the most sustainable way to travel. According to the Climate Action Network, the aviation industry alone contributes to around five per cent of global emissions, compared to train travel emitting up to 75 per cent less carbon emissions than any other form of public transport.
Eurostar is not only committed to switching entirely to renewable energy by 2030, but the company already uses 100% wind energy to power their trains in the Netherlands. It’s a no-brainer method of travel for the eco-conscious city breaker.
To book your next Eurostar trip, visit Trainline
Where to stay in Paris A stay at 25hours Hotel Terminus Nord is an absolute must for those wishing to immerse themselves in the City of Lights. Located just a mere stumble away from the Eurostar platform in Gare du Nord, this hotel serves the ultimate practicality and convenience for a dreamy weekend getaway.
Don’t be fooled by the charming Parisian exterior of this eclectic urban lodging. As soon as you step past the striped monochrome awning and Haussmann architecture, quintessential Paris feels worlds away. The hotel’s interiors are characterised by an eclectic mix of African and Asian style elements that pay homage to the lively spirit of the exuberant 10th arrondissement, bringing an alt oasis to the heart of the city.
Stepping into the foyer of 25hours took me back to the excitement of my backpacking days – where friendly staff and over-enthusiastic travellers fill the lobby with multilingual chatter. Colourful artwork lines the walls and kitsch souvenirs from local artists can be purchased at the desk. A fleet of bikes is available to hire, while co-working spaces open to anyone in the city bring a sense of community to the hotel’s cosmopolitan setup. The charm, of course, is that 25hours’ rooms are refreshingly more luxurious than the dormitories in backpacker hostels.
25hours excels in their attention-to-detail, particularly when it comes to sustainability. Where luxury meets home comforts, everything from essential toiletries from eco-brand STOP THE WATER WHILE USING ME!, to artwork crafted from reclaimed materials makes this space a climate-conscious traveller’s dream. It’s both romantic and eccentric without being gaudy, decked out with interirors inspired by Alex Toledano’s Portraits of the Gare du Nord (conveniently placed in the room for guests to enjoy).
Rain showers, a safe, minibar, UE Boom Bluetooth speaker and a breath-taking view of the Gare du Nord as well as Montmartre and Sacré Coeur from charming Juliet balconies are what make this hotel feel exceptionally special.
By night, the hotel’s resident restaurant NENI is a home to Middle-Eastern culinary delights. By day, a delicious array of classic Parisian pastries and continental delights to streaky bacon and fluffy pancakes are presented in a self-serve style buffet for guests to enjoy breakfast.
To book your stay, visit booking.com
Where to eat in Paris Parisians are spoilt for choice when it comes to eateries across the city, though few match the impressively minimal carbon footprint of Cojean, the first fast-food restaurant to achieve B-Corp status. I was fortunate enough to try many of the delights on Cojean’s colourful menu, from comforting pesto chicken and buttery golden mash to an antioxidant-rich ‘Yogi bowl’ and their must-try super green smoothies.
Call me dull, but I’m always on the hunt for fresh fruit and greenery on a holiday that is usually dictated by carbs and cocktails. Cojean was the perfect middleground, with richly indulgent options balanced by fruit-laden desserts and leafy green salads. The ideal pit stop for a day of sightseeing in Paris.
Perfect for a grab-n-go lunch for the traveller with a packed itinerary, Cojean’s deliciously fresh toasted sandwiches and pre-made nourish bowls make for the ultimate foodie experience on a budget.
With sustainability rooted in their ethos, profits from Cojean also go directly to charitable foundation, ‘Nourrir, Aimer, Donner’, which aims to fight poverty and to contribute to the sustainable development of the poorest communities worldwide.
Things to do in Paris Vintage shopping There’s something about thrifting that delivers the ultimate satisfaction to a sustainable city breaker. Check out Celia Darling Vintage for charming fits sure to get you snapped in a Parisian street style blog, or head to Le Marais for an eclectic mix of vintage boutiques and specialist thrift stores to uplevel your sustainable style.
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E-bike tour Cycling is one of the best ways to see a city, and Paris is laden with electric bike hire hubs and accessible cycle routes that meander through every bucket list tourist spot. Between now and 2026, Paris will gain 180 kilometers (112 miles) of new permanent segregated bike lanes – so there’s never been a better time to get on your bike!
Green riverboat tour on the Seine Avoid the queues and pickpockets around the iconic Eiffel Tower, and instead enjoy the incredible architecture from the water on Seine riverboat cruise. Green River cruises offer electric-powered boats, which save up to 7000 litres of gasoline each year.
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