A sustainable stay in Isère this summer

Discover how Isère is becoming greener

Environmental protection and sustainability are forever gaining traction in the media and in people’s minds, with travellers thinking more about conservation, organic foods and their carbon footprint when booking holidays. Here are some ideas of how to stay green when on holiday in Isère, below. If you would like any more details, or images, please just let me know. Please see here or visit www.alpes-isere.com for more information.

Highlights for summer 2022: 

Via Tram project: connecting Grenoble and the Vercors

The Vercors is one of the largest wooded areas in France and a sanctuary for numerous species. This “green territory” with its priceless riches attracts countless individuals and organisations who care about its future. Covering more than 60% of the region, the Vercors forest is a tremendous natural, renewable resource, and a valuable asset for the economy. A few months ago, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole launched a major project to upgrade the old tramway line linking Grenoble to Saint-Nizier-du-Moucherotte (the gateway to the Northern Vercors), in partnership with the Vercors Regional Natural Park and the Communauté de Communes du Massif du Vercors. This tramway line, which was in use until 1951, linked the valley to the Vercors. Today, the route will be developed to strengthen the city-mountain connection that is so characteristic of Grenoble-Alpes’ geography, by setting up dedicated signage and hopefully benefitting from a product packaged by Grenoble Alpes Tourisme. The completed route will create a new “green” tourist product, with the potential of linking itineraries and other parts of the Via Vercors greenway, which has almost 40 km of soft mobility routes.

ViaRhôna, future bike path between St-Romain-en-Gal and Condrieu

Vienne, located on the river Rhône with more than 2,500 years of historic relevance, has many historic places to see as it was once a major centre of the Roman empire. The ViaRhôna bike path follows alongside, or close to, the Rhone and is designed for people to cycle along the river. The Vienne-Condrieu section is the site of some recent innovative developments and projects that provide insight and cultivate curiosity. On the edge of the Ile du Beurre nature reserve, the cycle path is made of an eco-designed surface composed of local gravel and a plant-based product from the paper industry. This unique environmentally friendly process has the bonus of draining the rain, while its ochre colour blends into the landscape. This bike route of the future also features an offbeat agenda that makes you want to keep coming back – and not just to cycle www.isere-tourism.com/viarhona

Meet the locals – Inspiration Vercors travel guides

The great plateau of the Vercors massif rises above the encircling valleys like a fortress, culminating in an incredible escarpment that runs for miles like a frozen wave of rock. Behind lies a vast richly forested nature reserve, home to ibex, chamois, black grouse and vultures. Beyond the reserve, the interior of the plateau is a gentler place of rolling-green pastures. Inspiration Vercors publishes six online travel guides showing where you can meet the craftspeople, producers, shopkeepers, artists and individuals who play a part in the cultural and tourist scene of the Vercors. Demonstrating their commitment and determination, these people promote local products and share their artisanal traditions. The itineraries have been designed to take full advantage of the terrain and follow the roads of the Vercors with stops along the way. Guests can follow at their own pace, either by exploring its entirety or in sections, and these routes are perfectly suited for e-bikes. Access the guides by clicking on the discover button for each route: www.inspiration-vercors.com 

La Poulanerie, Prébois – holiday on an organic farm

An hour from Grenoble, in the south of Isère, there is an area known as Trièves with 27 villages surrounded by the Vercors and Dévoluy mountains In Trièves, find the authentic Vareilles farm, which has been handed down from generation to generation to the women in the family. In the 1970s, Mireille moved here with her husband Eric. She soon decided to farm organically to preserve the natural heritage values left to her by her grandparents. As children and grandchildren arrived, the new generation looked to a more sustainable approach to the business by adding tourism with quirky accommodation and donkeys – a way to supplement their income, but more importantly, offering tourists and visitors the experience of living on a farm while also enjoying a relaxing holiday. Guests can stay in the farmhouse, a fox’s hut, a Kyrgyz yurt, or in a round straw and earth hut. Mireille rents donkeys for hiking trips so she can share her passion for walking with everyone. Laurie and Maxime grow vegetables in their organic garden, chickens feed on kitchen waste, cleaning products are ecological, there are dry toilets, and recycling is clearly explained and monitored. English spoken. www.poulanerie.com

Camping with horses

The Oisans high mountain region, in the southwest of Isère, is full of majestic glaciers, crystal-clear lakes, natural parks, rushing rivers, and refreshing waterfalls, these vast spaces are all playgrounds for active visitors. Arriving at Ferme Noemie, calm reigns: on one side, large grassy paddocks with the mountains in the background; and on the other, pitches, mobile homes, and a gîte. Mélanie, the owner and manager, runs the place on her own, but always with a smile. All hoofed animals – horses, donkeys, mules – receive free board and lodging. The Isère Cheval Vert label, awarded to Ferme Noemie, is a guarantee of a quality welcome for both rider and horse, with catering for dinner and breakfast, secure tethering, an electrified park, water, grass or hay, and secure storage for harnesses. A saddlery, shared with the cyclists and their bikes, is also available. The campsite has 16 pitches, four mobile homes for up to four people, and four apartments for two to six people.

Prices: campsite: €15–€24 per pitch per night; mobile home: €450 per week; Apartment: €700–€850/week. English spoken.www.fermenoemie.com

Eco-responsible Freedom hike

Right on the doorstep of Grenoble, the Chartreuse Regional Natural Park is only one hour from Lyon. With its vibrant nature, wild landscapes, and spectacular panoramas, the Chartreuse massif will delight lovers of wide-open spaces. This Freedom of the Chartreuse tour has been designed with the utmost respect for the environment: a welcome by the tour creator, overnight stays in accommodation with the ‘Accueil du Parc’ label, meals made with local seasonal products, and starting and finishing locations that can be accessed by public transport. The Vagabondages d’Exception tours promote local benefits and consider environmental impact. Sharing these values means that each trekker can play an active part in sustainability. This tour starts in the small town of Voiron, before crossing the ancient border between Savoie and France to reach the heart of the Chartroussine mountains. Guests can enjoy eight days in the Natural Park, seven of which are of free roaming touring in a loop. Price: from €678 on a half-board basis (luggage carried by the hikers). Hike scheduled from May to October, departures possible from 15 May to 31 October 2022, every day of the week except Sunday and Monday. www.pedibus.org

About: Isère is a department in the Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes region in south-eastern France. It extends from the banks of the River Rhône to the summits of the French Alps. The region is easily accessible from Lyon airport all year round, including numerous flights from London and other major cities in the UK. With mountain ranges, preserved countryside, cities and vast plains, Isère is a popular destination for walking, running, cycling, gastronomy and wine as well as breathtaking scenery. www.alpes-isere.com