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Slow tourism to travel differently in France

24 Junio 2022 Volver a Francia
Vista 334 veces

Today, it’s easy to travel and go sightseeing in France in a more original and sustainable way! To foster this spirit of travelling, the French ministry of ecologic transition is promoting slow tourism, an alternative and eco-friendly type of travel. Choosing slow tourism means choosing to travel by taking your time, to rediscover the diversity of landscapes and local, historical, cultural and gastronomic heritage. But mostly, it means to travel differently: by foot, bike, boat or train.

During the World Tourism Responsible Day, created in 2007 and held every year on June 2nd before the summer holidays, France decided to promote ethical practices to connect traveller and visitors to a movement towards a tourism that is more respectful of the planet and its inhabitants.


Soft travels


The “philosophy of alternative tourism” says the information website from the government, is to “take your time”. And it’s all easier in France since the range of soft, ecological and healthy means of travels to organise your holidays doesn’t stop expanding

Means of travel encouraging ecological, low carbon emission, heritage and biodiversity respectful travels include hiking, of course, horse-riding, but also bicycle touring and river tourism. Let’s focus on the last two soft means of travel:

  • Bicycle tourism: to foster the use of this mean of travel, France now boasts many appropriate ways, such as the Véloroutes, and secured route, adapted to a leisure or tourism use of bicycles. There are national, regional Véloroutes, but also departmental routes sometimes, and even European Véloroutes. Thanks to Eurovélo, it is possible to cross Europe by bike (17 routes in total, including 10 throughout France);
  • River tourism: these terms describe tourism activities located close to rivers or waterways, and travels on waters. In France, 8.500 km waterways are made available by the national operator Voies navigables de France, an entity that wants to “encourage the recapture of waterways by travellers”. Whether it’s during a stay on a hotel barge, a trip by boat, foot or bike along the canals, the idea is to discover “the country as the run of rivers”.


Commitment of the State in favour of slow tourism


As the ministry of ecological transition, the tourism industry was deeply impacted by the health crisis. To complement emergency actions in favour of tourism implemented by the French government, a Sustainable Tourism fund was created as part of the Destination France plan.

Public authorities created this special fund endowed with 4.7 million euros to encourage a more sustainable and local tourism and support 73 slow tourism projects in France, including 62 in metropolitan France and 11 in overseas territories.

This fund aims at:

  • Supporting hosts to encourage them to reduce the environmental impact of their equipment and appliances.
  • Developing new slow tourism offers focused stays favouring “resourcing and immersive discovery of territories, respectful of their inhabitants and the environment, while contributing to the local activity”.


Winners of the Sustainable Tourism fund


Slow tourism initiatives, which must now be quickly operational and launched on the market, include:

  • Ecotourism camps in usual locations (farms, forests, pop-up transparent spheres...);
  • Specialised camping sites (site in nature or usual accommodation modes);
  • Agrotourism locations (gites, bed and breakfast, camping in farms or forest estates);
  • Gastronomy discoveries and wine tasting travels (discoveries of local specialities and wines);
  • “Slow tourism” activities (such as the creation of a park dedicated to ecological and solidarity transition, stargazing nights, bike tours and unusual travels, and more);
  • “Slow tourism with social aspect” offers (help to welcome disadvantaged public and disabled people in tourism sites.


So many initiatives that could turn France into the first sustainable tourism destination, according to the objectives of the government. With 90 million foreign tourists welcomed in 2019, France is the first tourism destination worldwide, and the country intends to keep the leadership by developing this alternative form of tourism!


To know more: 

What is slow tourism?

Slow tourism projects supported by the Sustainable tourism fund

Act for a responsible tourism


Photo credit: © auremar –


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