Eco-tourism in Toulouse, Ariège and the Pyrenees

Toulouse
Eco-tourism in Toulou ...

"Ecotourism" is very trendy because it allows responsible travelers to respect the values that are dear to them, even on vacation. This concept respectful of the environment involves the choice of alternative accommodation, far from mass tourism accommodation, by a soft mode of transport, even micro-tourism, or even by the practice of slow tourism. Be a responsible traveler in the Pyrenees and Toulouse!


Opening photo: Sustainable Tourism in Toulouse and the Pyrenees - Photo credit © Sergio Formoso / AdobeStock


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Slowtourism and microtourism, responsible holiday concepts

The principle of microtourism is to leave close to home, or even to stay in one's region of residence, for holidays, in general, of short duration. It meets two objectives: avoid traveling to the other side of the world to reduce your carbon footprint; give priority to sustainable development and the local and solidarity economy.

Slow tourism, on the other hand, is a new way of thinking about vacations. The idea is to slow down the pace, take your time, recharge your batteries in contact with nature... These are “zen” holidays! To practice it, you will have to learn patience, disconnect, free all your senses to appreciate your environment, in order to regain your serenity.

And why not practice both at the same time…


Toulouse, a green city!

No doubt, the pink city is indeed a green city! It has even been ranked the 2nd greenest city in France. "Tree Plan", increase in the surface area of parks and gardens, "flowers on my wall" operation, support for sustainable development projects... Initiatives are springing up to make Toulouse increasingly green and succeed in its energy transition... To appreciate this facet of the city, here are some ideas for nature outings in Toulouse:


The Royal Garden of Toulouse - Photo credit © Guide Toulouse Pyrénées

The Royal Garden of Toulouse - Photo credit © Guide Toulouse Pyrénées

Choose alternative accommodation

There are many eco-labels that reward the efforts of tourist rentals. If the criteria differ, they all guarantee you responsible management of your holiday accommodation: cleaning products that respect the environment, local supply for meals, water and energy savings... In addition, it is a way to participate in a more ethical economy. Our selection of responsible housing:


Photo credit © Le Perchoir des Pyrénées

Photo credit © Le Perchoir des Pyrénées

Use the principles of “Soft Mobility” to get around

Soft mobility is recommended for slow-tourism, since it combines ecology and slow movement. But it can also be integrated into micro-tourism. The principle is simple, just use your legs, your bike, or public transport to get around. Let's take a quick look at these eco-friendly transports:

  • The best of the best is walking, of course! There is nothing more ecological, economical and moreover, it is good for your health.
  • For trips in Toulouse or to connect the cities of the Toulouse conurbation, the ideal is the bike. The territory of Haute-Garonne benefits from a good network of cycle paths and cycle routes. In addition, the Canal du Midi, which crosses Toulouse and the department, is bordered by a greenway.

Learn more? Find out more: The Canal du Midi by bike, in Haute Garonne from Toulouse.


The good idea The good idea: To visit the city center of Toulouse, use the “VélôToulouse” service (fr).


  • As a family, it is sometimes more practical to use public transport, especially with young children, who are not comfortable riding a bike.

Learn more? Find out more: Urban and suburban transport in Toulouse and the surrounding area.


The Canal du Midi by bike - Photo credit © Marc AZEMA / Adobe Stock

The Canal du Midi by bike - Photo credit © Marc AZEMA / AdobeStock

Stroll through the green stations

Since the 1960s, the green station” label has been awarded to the villages most mobilized to preserve their environment and sustainable tourism. They are therefore preserved sites, which offer a natural setting for all kinds of outdoor activities. Among the municipalities labeled as green resorts in the Pyrenees, we advise you to visit:

In Haute-Garonne:

  • Aurignac (31420)
  • Bagneres de Luchon (31110)
  • Boulogne sur Gesse (31350)
  • Cazeres (31220)
  • Grenade-sur-Garonne (31330)
  • Isle en Dodon (31230)
  • Martres-Tolosane (31220)
  • Montrejeau (31210)
  • Revel (31250)
  • Rieux-Volvestre (31310)
  • Saint Beat Lez (31440)
  • Villemur sur Tarn (31340)

    In Hautes-Pyrenees:


      In Ariège:


        Discover the "Great Sites of France" of Ariège and the Pyrenees

        The great sites of France are places renowned for their exceptional environment. They are classified for the protection of fauna and flora, the preservation of ecosystems and the responsible management of municipalities.

        In Ariège, it is the lands of the Château de Montségur that are certified. This Cathar castle with a bloody past sits atop a dizzying peak. The view there is breathtaking.


        The good idea The good idea: Discover the Cathar Country during the holidays.


        In the Pyrenees, it is the Cirque de Gavarnie. This circus in the Gavarnie-Gèdre Valley is absolutely beautiful. It is one of the must-see sites in the Pyrenees. The “Gavarnie-Cauterets-Pont d'Espagne” triangle is also classified as one of the “Great Occitanie Sites”.


        The good idea The good idea: Explore the Cirque de Gavarnie, a natural wonder of the Hautes-Pyrénées.


        The Gavarnie circus - Photo credit © Lesley Williamson

        The Gavarnie circus - Photo credit © Lesley Williamson

        Practicing eco-responsible activities

        Recharge your batteries in the middle of nature, while having fun, in a preserved environment, what better way to practice slow tourism! To inspire you a little, we have selected for you the most "slow" activities to enjoy these relaxing holidays in Ariège and the Pyrenees:


        Monbel Lake - Photo credit © Lesley Williamson

          Monbel Lake - Photo credit © Lesley Williamson

          Visit eco-responsible tourist sites

          To remain eco-responsible to the end, you could look for tourist sites certified “NF Environnement Sites de visite”. However, winners are rare and there are still few. This does not prevent certain establishments from being very committed and respectful. Often these are animal parks or parks related to nature, and which are located in extraordinary natural environments.


          Photo credit © Le Parc aux Rapaces

            Photo credit © Le Parc aux Rapaces

            Savor local products on the markets of Haute-Garonne

            You won't refuse a little trip to the market. Especially if they are organic and peasant markets, which will make you discover local products from the Ariège and Pyrenees region! Some have even obtained organic certification. This is an opportunity to support the producers of the territories of Ariège and the Pyrenees, by shopping, while tasting healthy and fresh products!


            Learn more? Find out more: The most beautiful markets in Toulouse


            Saint-Aubin market - Photo credit © Léa Durr

            Saint-Aubin market - Photo credit © Léa Durr

            Enjoy Toulouse gastronomy in its restaurants, farms and inns

            The restaurants are places of sharing, where you will appreciate the gastronomy, the conviviality and the generosity of the Toulouse country. To guide you, we suggest establishments that buy from local producers, on a short circuit. You will find good seasonal and high quality products .


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            Taste the wines of the Toulouse region

            Would you like a bit of wine tourism? This is another facet of the agricultural terroir of this country of gourmets! The wine estates are getting up to date and offering all sorts of unusual activities to make you love this generous land and its products. These winegrowers are lovers of the land and nature and know how to preserve it in their vineyards:


              Learn more? Find out more: The vineyards to discover around Toulouse.


              Promote local crafts

              For your holiday gifts, you know that it is important to favor a local economy and local crafts. Designer boutiques also allow you to support artists and unearth unique and original items or clothing. Don't forget second-hand shopping and recycling centers, which bring items back to life, which are still far from being waste...


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                And here is this overview of responsible practices on vacation that comes to an end and we only have to wish you green holidays in Toulouse, Ariège and the Pyrenees.


                Did you like this report? Find more on the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide Blog. We are on social networks, find the Facebook page of the Guide Toulouse Pyrénées and the Instagram account @guidetoulousepyrenees


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