Paris is a world famous city. When it comes to food, art, culture and sights it’s right up there. And not only that, Paris is ace when it comes to climate change, too. So if you’re heading across the Channel this summer why not have a look at our alternative travel guide.
Arrive into the Gare du Lyon by train. Trains are a lower carbon choice in general, and the TGV is really pulling out all the stops. From 2018 the new TGV trains will use 20-30% less energy and carry a quarter more people. It’s set to be a great ride.
Once you’ve arrived, to make the most of Paris there are plenty of ways to get around quickly. There’s the Metro if you’re up for navigating the maps and the cool stations (no, seriously), or why not rent a car? Don’t freak out, these aren’t just any cars! From docks around the city you can rent electric cars by the half hour. It’s convenient, low carbon and nice and speedy.
The object dominating the Parisian skyline is the Eiffel Tower. It’s a must-see. When it was built in 1889, it was the tallest building in the world and designed to link engineering and art - hence the whole pylon look it’s got going on. To this day the Eiffel Tower is still innovating with science, this time with renewable energy. Not only is the first floor is now kitted out with LED lights, but solar thermal panels power its restaurants and shops. Best of all, it has two beautiful wind turbines, designed especially for the landmark, hiding up there.
Once you’ve taken in those dizzying heights, it’s probably time for a bit of a snack. There are about a zillion cafes in Paris, my personal favourite is a vegetarian restaurant by Notre Dame, low carbon and delicious. But there’s absolutely no shame in grabbing something from a supermarket here if you’re in a hurry. French supermarkets have some weird and wonderful delights (pear sorbet, yes please) and as of this year, none of it’s going to waste. The French government recently passed a law meaning all supermarkets have to give their excess food to charities, rather than chucking it away.
With that energy boost, it’s time to take Paris in on foot. Strolling along the Seine has never been nicer - a stretch of the left bank has been totally pedestrianised, and the right bank will be going the same way next year.
From there you can take in the beautiful old buildings and bridges, as well as popping into any art galleries or shops that take your fancy. There’s something quite enchanting about the roof tops in Paris - so don’t forget to look up. Alongside the attic windows and grey curved roofs, you might spot a solar panels or two. That’s because all new commercial roofs must now either been green roofs, or solar powered.
After a leisurely walk, how about a cycle to see a few more of the green spaces around the city? Paris’s veolib scheme works much like renting Boris bikes in London, and here they have bikes available for kids as young as two. So while you’re cycling through the delightful jardins, watch out for some really cute small people.
You can cycle all the way out to Gare du Nord when it’s time to leave. We suggest going by train, and if you happen to be heading up towards Amsterdam, look out for a brand new solar panel covered tunnel that they use to power the train line.
What a day!