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Normandy – Why ‘No Car’ Tourism?

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The bay of the Mont Saint Michel by bike © Emmanuel Berthier

by Émilie Ursule, Project Manager Mobilités Touristiques, Normandie Tourisme

My mission is to make Normandy accessible to visitors without a car, in order to reduce the carbon footprint of travelers in our destination.

In Normandy, traveling is synonymous with committing to more responsible tourism; more respectful, more virtuous, and more humane tourism. Here, through its history and its natural landscapes, the values ​​of freedom, authenticity, and sharing are dear to the region. It is therefore not surprising that Normandy was cited by The New York Times among the 52 world destinations to visit in 2022 (the only French destination in the ranking)!

In a recent article, The New York Times highlights our cycle routes which today shows the importance for a territory of developing tourism in soft mobility.

Introduction to Sustainable Tourist Mobility

Since 2019, Normandy Tourism and the Normandy Region have launched with their regional partners a real reflection on responsible tourism and soft mobility at the scale of the region.

Normandy Tourism now has two project managers on Sustainable Tourism and Mobility leading a specific action plan with goals and objectives such as:

  • Reduce the impact of tourism on the environment and climate change by working in particular on the management of flows and over-frequentation,
  • Develop tourism stakeholders towards responsible approaches
  • Make Normandy an exemplary destination in terms of sustainable travel, in particular by developing “Normandy without my car” offers; and raise customer awareness of sustainable development.

To support Norman tourism’s key players in this process, Normandie Tourisme regularly organizes professional webinars.

In its latest series, a webinar was devoted to Initiation to Sustainable Tourist Mobility, showing concrete examples of good practices, and means of communication to support the change in visitor behavior and work on the desirability of new forms of mobility.

To watch this webinar, a replay is available here.

The Train is Back!

In addition, through the “Normandy without my car” program, Normandy Tourism works with tourist offices on the construction of stays, accessible by public transport or by soft modes of transport (bicycle, on foot, electric car, etc.). Several offers per destination are offered, one for each target: family, group of young people, and couples without children. A good introduction to discover all the facets of Normandy in a carbon-free way! This approach will soon be supplemented by stays without a car, roaming on foot or by bike, from station to station.

See the portfolio « Normandy with no cars »

Arrive with the train in Vernon. A bike adventure in Normandy with Matthieu Tordeur © Marie-Anaïs Thierry

At the same time, partnership work is carried out with the Transport services of the Normandy Region and the SNCF, to encourage train travel to the destination, and in particular for active travelers! This is how experiments with carrying bikes on Normandy trains are carried out every year in the summer, to allow travelers to go on holiday by train with their bikes, to discover the major cycle routes in Normandy, such as La Vélomaritime, La Vélofrancette, La Véloscénie, The Seine by bike, the Avenue Verte London to Paris, or La VéloWestNormandy.

In terms of promotion, the image campaign for the Normandy destination “La Base! is also taken up by the SNCF, in order to promote access to Normandy by train, via its many direct lines from Paris. The objective: to decarbonize the transport of tourists to our destination by enhancing its accessibility by train!

Experiential and Innovative Offer

To meet demand and encourage visitors to move towards softer, more responsible, and low-carbon travel, Normandy Tourism is committed to raising awareness among its tourism partners and developing suitable, car-free, and more experiential offers. The objective is to reduce the carbon footprint of tourism in Normandy, by maintaining tourism that is more respectful of the environment, and to preserve the cultural and natural wealth of our territory.

Attention Adventure Seekers and Nature Lovers!

The Innovation Pole of Normandy Tourism refocuses on the visitor, their expectations, and their motivations. By co-constructing with its partners, experiential and innovative offers, the visitor now discovers the territory by experiencing Norman Experiences and unforgettable encounters. The visitor can, for example, paddle in the heart of the remains of the D-DAY, start polo in Deauville, create his Calvados, take a gourmet bike ride with a local guide or even discover the arches of Etretat.

This last Norman Experience in Etretat is accessible by train or bus and allows visitors to discover the site in a more sustainable way while managing the flow of visitors.

Discover the Etretat arches while paddling © Thib’sProd_LumièresMarinesProd

Contributing members are responsible for the accuracy of content contributed to the Member News section of AdventureTravelNews.

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