In the aftermath of COP26, eco-friendly inspiration for conscious exploration of our planet is key. From sustainable stays to reconnecting with the natural environment, Isère encourages mountain enthusiasts to explore the region while lightening their carbon footprint. Because winter sports lovers have a lot to lose from global warming, they should all be highly motivated to do something about it.
Travel: Rail travel creates only a fraction of the carbon emissions of the equivalent journey by plane or car and can be a way to make the journey become an enjoyable part of the holiday. In the heart of Isère, the city of Grenoble is just over seven hours by train from London.
In situ: Every year, Isère installs more electric charging points to cater to customers with electric cars. The system was introduced by the Eborn network in Isère. These charging points are fed by 100% green electricity produced from renewable energy sources (EKOénergie label*). With a single subscriber badge, access to all the charging facilities is available on the network, including those in other French mainland departments (www.eborn.fr).
By choosing locally owned accommodation, travellers will be contributing to the local economy. One simple way to make sure 100% of tourist’s pounds go to the accommodation provider is reserve directly.
Chamrousse is the only resort in Isère to have been awarded the Flocon Vert label by Mountain Riders, a non-profit organisation aiming to improve sustainability in the mountains. In doing so, the resort promises to adhere to 31 essential criteria that help preserve the environment within this Sensitive Natural Area. Activities include: installing solar panels; encouraging recycling; and maintaining the tradition of mountain pastoralism. The town has also appointed a green warden whose job is to educate and inform visitors about the rules of the mountains. Staying in an igloo made of 100% natural snow is a great eco treat. Set in the mountains of Chamrousse, the Igloo Village Blacksheep offers snowshoe access and adheres to use of organic local food, car-free accessibility, more than 80% waste recycling, and energy saving lights. The site has all the amenities for a comfortable stay, with a bar, bathroom, living room, and a restaurant. And guests need not worry about the cold, because everyone is provided with a cosy sleeping bag.
The 4* Val Lachard in Villard-de-Lans is an energy-efficient converted farmhouse with the Inspiration Vercors partner label, which means it is involved in sustainable development initiatives to maintain air and water quality, as well as waste management and short food supply chains. Accommodating up to 20 people in nine rooms and suites, the building mixes innovative systems with a traditional energy-efficient house supplying a continuous stream of fresh air for healthy breathing. The important advantage here is that energy consumption is reduced by 80% compared to a standard new house, plus it has an electric charging point for vehicles. The Vercors is known for cross country skiing, moderate forest terrain incredible ski touring. Villard-de-Lans / Corrençon-en-Vercors is the main Alpine resort in Vercors with 125 km of slopes.
This innovative form of accommodation has been designed and developed by top athletes, Marie Dorin-Habert, Robin Duvillard and Loïs Habert, three Vercors champions who found fame in the world of French skiing. In Corrençon-en-Vercors, they created Zecamp – this centre is home to 15 rooms in the stunning Vercors National Park and sits at the start of the 148 km Nordic skiing area of the Hauts-Plateaux du Vercors. With direct access to the Espace Biathlon, Olympic world champions come to train here during winter. Complete with a professional gym, cold bath to relieve aching muscles, and personalised healthy meals, the modern Zecamp hotel was built with the environment in mind and is heated using solar panels. Plus, everyone uses an electric bicycle or electric car on site, and a vegan menu is offered and cooked with organic, local ingredients, with produce from Zecamp’s own vegetable garden.
Alpe d’Huez strives daily to reduce its impact on the environment, to protect its privileged natural setting and to raise awareness to all visitors. The first hybrid bus in the French Alps, Resalp shuttle bus runs in the resort reducing fuel consumption and therefore helps limit greenhouse gas emissions. Alpe d’Huez has the highest greenhouses in France with 2,000 perennials and 1,200 annuals growing here allowing the resort to bloom all year round. Chalet Le Grizzly is a cosy B&B built with materials from the area such as slate and larch, which gives it a warm and homely appearance and sleeps 12 people in six bedrooms. At the same time, it is equipped with all comforts including a hot tub. Owners Sandrine and Philippe offer dinners based on seasonal products from organic and local producers. They also make their own terrines and jams and collect mushrooms and herbs from the area for the dishes.
A week’s stay, at Chalet Grizzly, from 08 January 2022, costs from 986€/£830 per room, £415pp on HB for 2 people. www.chalet-alpe.com
Ecogîte® – Gîtes de France is committed to sustainable tourism. Its environmental Qualification seeks to “pull up” the overall environmental quality of rural tourism structures. One such Ecogîte® is Les Petites Roches Insolites in Chartreuse, in the heart of the Isère. This hobbit-like chalet is half-buried into its surroundings with a living roof that ensures a perfect insulating effect while being a source of biodiversity. The exceptional two-bedroom chalet of 70 m2 lies at an altitude of 1,000 m on the Plateau des Petites Roches, a great hangout for paragliders and wonderful access to cross country skiing. Saint-Bernard-du-Touvet, within the Regional Natural Park of Chartreuse, extends over a large territory, dominated by the highlands of the Chartreuse.
A week’s stay, at Les Petites Roches Insolites – sleeps five, from 08 January 2022, costs from 1500€/£1260 for the chalet, £252pp on B&B basis www.petitesrochesinsolites.com
Resorts in Isère that have been awarded the French ‘station verte’ label include Vaujany Station Verte, which is committed to sustainable tourism. Working closely with the locals, the label helps to explore historical heritage, understand local traditions, pedestrianise village centres, and have free museums. Plus the mayors of nine ski resorts in Isère (one of which is Vaujany) signed a French national charter for sustainable development to preserve biodiversity and natural resources. Located opposite the superb Massif des Grandes Rousse at an altitude of 1,250 m, Vaujany has all the charm and character of an authentic village with access to the Alpe d’Huez ski domain and its 250 km of slopes. La Tanière, Chambres d’Hôtes is a cosy chalet located in the middle of the village of Vaujany. It overlooks the mountains and has four comfortable rooms. These can be used separately, but the chalet can also be rented in its entirety. Twice a week the owner offers a menu based on fresh seasonal products.
A week’s stay, at La Tanière, Chambres d’Hôtes, from 08 January 2022, costs from 665€/£560 per room for two people sharing, £280pp on a B&B basis. www.lataniere38.com
Deep in the untamed valley of Haut Bréda, a path leads to the Auberge Nemoz, a former mountain grange that is now a magnificent family-run stone and wood chalet. There are five charming guest rooms, all with a three or four rating from the Gîtes de France website. The dining room is warm and welcoming, with a feature fireplace where fabulous raclettes and other traditional mountain dishes are made. Vegetable terrines, fresh goat’s cheese and the season’s meats are served with a wide range of vegetables and a gratin dauphinois for the regional touch. Here, the food is home-made from carefully selected local ingredients for wonderful authenticity. For guests wanting to relax, there is a storwatt (a Norwegian bath tub made of beautiful red cedar wood, with water heated to a toasty 37°C) sheltered from view on an outdoor terrace overlooking a nearby mountain stream. Les 7 Laux is the closest ski resort and comprises not one, but three purpose-built villages linked by a common ski area.
A week’s stay, at L’Auberge du Nemoz Belledone, from 08 January 2022, costs from 995€/£835 per room for a family of four sharing on a B&B basis, HB available at a supplement of 24€/£20 pp per night. www.auberge-nemoz.com / www.les7laux.com
Les 2 Alpes largely owes its international reputation to its high-altitude ski area (the highest in France) that allows skiing up to 3,600 metres. Les 2 Alpes is equipped with 100% electric resort buses and is applying to obtain the Flocon Vert label – only nine ski resorts hold this title and Les 2 Alpes wishes to join them.
For more information visit: www.isere-tourism.com
*There are three payment options: subscriber badge, contactless bank card, and online smartphone payment. (www.eborn.fr).