Photo credit (banner): Maxime Huriez / SNCF

The SNCF guide to sustainable travel

Want a change of scenery without a big carbon footprint? We’ve got you covered with these practical tips for planet-friendly travel.

Published on

Reconciling our beliefs and our desire to travel

Traveling without bloating your carbon footprint entails changing your habits. But you just need to make a few adjustments to protect planet Earth at your own level.

Do you, too, want to travel while limiting your ecological impact? Here are a few guidelines.

Stay close to home

Travel is mind-opening even if you don’t go far, and mainland France is packed with breath-taking places. Try the Pink Granite Coast in Brittany, Serre-Ponçon Lake in the Alps or the Hérisson Waterfall in the Jura Mountains—to name just a few.

Why go to the ends of the earth when you can board a train and explore a little-known region just hours away?

Ready to dip your toes in the water? Check out our list of 10 beautiful, easy-to-reach beaches.

Learn more about rail-accessible beaches

Or perhaps you’d prefer the mountains? Our TGV INOUI, INTERCITÉS and TER trains can take you to the Alps, Pyrenees, Massif Central, Jura and Vosges.

Learn more about rail-accessible mountain destinations

And when you travel with INTERCITÉS, you’ll qualify for discounts on some of France’s most iconic cultural attractions.

Learn more about INTERCITÉS

 

Save the planet. Choose rail

Did you know? Travelling by rail is good for the environment. On average, a journey by train generates only 1/30 of the greenhouse gases you’d emit if you drove alone. And when you take a TGV, you generate only half of what you’d emit if you drove, and 1/80 of your emissions if you travelled by plane.

For years, SNCF Group has been committed to preserving our planet, today and tomorrow. We’re working hard—across many fronts—to cut our greenhouse gas emissions, save energy and protect biodiversity.

Learn more

See Europe by train

Ready for a European adventure? Consider the Interrail Pass. Since its creation in 1972, some 10 million Europeans have explored the Old Continent with Interrail, and it now opens the door to 33 countries.

Learn more

Imagine boarding a train at night and waking up in a different city—or even a different country. If you’ve ever done it, you know that overnight rail travel is an experience like no other. Nightjet already offers trains between Paris and Vienna, and several more overnight lines are coming soon. It’s a great way to see Europe without harming the planet.

Learn more about Nightjet

Hop on your bike

Bikes are the ultimate green mobility solution—and they’re the perfect partner for trains. So why not plan a biking vacation? You can bring your bike aboard most TER trains for free, or rent one for travel before or after your rail journey. We also offer a range of parking solutions.

Learn more about our bike offers

And that’s not all. If you want to explore France by bike, try one of our select cycling routes. From the shores of Lake Leman to the vineyards of Burgundy to the Atlantic Coast, we’ve got it all.

Tour France by bike

The “slow train” guide

In keeping with the “slow” movement, journalist Juliette Labaronne has just published a book in celebration of the little known TER and INTERCITÉS lines in France. Her guide is a source of ideas and itineraries for travelers eager to use little known train lines in France. It encourages readers to take their time and discover remote areas.

Learn more

Eat responsibly

Why don’t you prepare a picnic with some leftovers from your fridge ahead of your trip? Use your imagination and some of the food you were about to discard before leaving on holidays to create delicious snacks. You don’t have time to cook? Don’t worry, you can eat aboard the train while respecting planet Earth.

Our menus aboard TGV INOUI and INTERCITÉS include many products made locally and sourced from all parts of France. Some of them are certified organic. And we also serve vegetarian meals.

Choose ecotourism

First introduced by hippies travelling all around the world, ecotourism is becoming a global trend; an increasing number of people opt for this form of tourism and choose to go to areas where the ecosystem is protected. There is thus a growing number of hotels, lodges etc. dedicated to preserving the planet.

Thanks to the existing labels in France, it is now pretty easy to find an ecological accommodation, that is, a place where actions have been implemented to reduce the impact on the environment, be it the use and purchase of renewable energy, water conservation, waste valorization and reduction, etc.

Spending your holidays in the countryside, visiting the numerous regional and national natural parks, travelling by bike or doing a trek, these are also easy and simple ways to practice ecotourism. So what are you waiting for?