Making Paris a sustainable tourism destination

Climb aboard with Corinne Menegaux, director-general at the Office du Tourisme de Paris

Here at Midnight Trains, we’re determined to play our part in persuading travellers not to fly (and instead opt for the comfort and convenience of the sleeper train). And with the climate catastrophe hanging over us all, in any case, low-carbon transport has to be the way forward.

So this week we asked Corinne Menegaux, the director-general of the Office du Tourisme et des Congrès de Paris to explain how Paris is trying to set an example as a sustainable tourism destination. A lot is at stake for the City of Light, one of the world’s most-visited cities. It can count on Midnight Trains to help, though, as Paris will be home to our first railway hub, with trains departing for cities across Europe. Over to you, Corinne Menegaux!

‘Paris, one of the world’s most-visited cities, has to lead the way when it comes to sustainable tourism. The development of sleeper-train routes will no doubt encourage visitors to rediscover Paris as a destination, and offer a great, low-carbon alternative to flying (while making the journey feel like more of an adventure, too).

‘Today Paris brims with innovative projects, across food, accommodation and cultural activities, that will make yours a sustainable stay. The tourism industry here is constantly changing to keep up with visitors’ growing desire for unique, personalised experiences.

There are lots of ways you can explore the city responsibly, with our 1,000 kilometres of cycle paths, fast-expanding public transport network and panoply of electric vehicles (some even on the Seine). When it comes to sustainable transport, Paris is way ahead of the curve.

Positioning Paris as a capital of sustainable development also means offering visitors new ways to discover the city, allowing them to experience it in a different light by visiting lesser-known areas and doing unusual things. That’s important both for French tourists and foreign travellers visiting the city for the first time, for those who’ve been here already, and also for Parisians who want to rediscover their city.

‘So Paris, as a tourism destination, places a focus on experiences: urban farms, craft workshops, making honey and growing saffron on rooftops, trips in unusual vehicles and guided tours on surprising subjects… not forgetting all the city’s food shops, cafés and restaurants that continue to innovate and diversify, reworking dishes from all over the world with largely local (and seasonal) produce.

‘Paris’s producers are also promoted through Fabriqué à Paris, a label that honours Parisian makers and products. The badge is a response to a growing desire among Parisians and tourists looking for more authenticity in what they buy. Visitors can thus choose from 331 authentically Parisian (and sustainably made) products from local artisans, makers and entrepreneurs.

What we want to share with our visitors in 2022 (and beyond) is a different kind of Paris, the Parisians’ Paris in all its diversity, a city where creation and creativity have a deep significance. Because Paris, after all, is famed for its cosmopolitan feel, street art, architecture, nightlife, contemporary art, green spaces…

‘With the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon, there are a number of projects and green initiatives underway (mobility, accessibility, the regreening of major thoroughfares) that will accelerate Paris’s tourism transformation – and help people experience the best of the city in the long term.’

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