Q & A with Yasmine Haun, Founder, France écotours GmbH, Frankfurt-am-Main, Germany.
France écotours offers bicycle and hiking tours to various regions of France. Self-guided tours are available, and guided tours are available mainly in French or German languages. The website is in German, French, and English.
Yes I am French, born in Paris. I have been living in Germany for over 20 years now, and I wanted to promote business for my home country - to encourage German travelers and others to visit France.
SINCE YOU LIVE IN GERMANY - WHAT DO YOU OBSERVE ABOUT GERMANS AND SUSTAINABLE WAYS OF LIFE?
It’s true that Germans have a mind for green living and have had this conscience for many years already. The Germans are the champions of the world in clean waste disposal and recycling plus they have strict norms and rules for anti-pollution. They buy organic as often as they can.
To be a vegetarian and vegan in Germany is becoming more common. Germans spend a lot of money for clean and renewable energy. Finally, they want to take eco-friendly vacations.
Indeed, the French are, for example, champions of the world when it comes to good and conscious eating and are trying to produce more organic products. But they are less prepared to spend more money for ecotourism.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO YOU TO OFFER ECO-FRIENDLY TOURS IN FRANCE?
I want to operate a sensible business and at the same time provide employment to my compatriots.
YOU OFFER BOTH GUIDED AND SELF-GUIDED TOURS - ARE THESE IN EQUAL DEMAND?
Both types are popular, but I do find that about 60% of our clients choose the self-guided tours and the remaining 40% request the guided tours.
Our customers have the choice between touring bikes and e-bikes.
LOOKING THROUGH YOUR WEBSITE YOU HAVE HIKING TOURS DESIGNED FOR MORE ENTRY-LEVEL HIKERS, AND THEN THERE ARE SOME FOR THE MORE EXPERIENCED HIKERS. PLEASE GIVE US AN EXAMPLE OF AN “EASY” HIKE TOUR.
Yes, we do have different levels of hikes because our clients have different body fitness and less or more experience in trekking or hiking. One of our easy hiking tours goes to the island of Belle-île-en-Mer that is in the Bretagne region (western France on the Atlantic Ocean). The early Greeks who came to this place called it Kalonessos ("beautiful island"). It is a very popular vacation destination.
There you can find high plateaus that are favored by seabirds for rest and nesting - such as cormorants, northern gannets and petrels. This hike is feasible by anyone who does sport on a regular basis. The landscape is not so challenging and our hotel accommodation is quite comfortable. Guests who choose this hike should ideally have a basic knowledge of French to better understand and interact with the local professional French guide and the hotel workers.
We offer two Mont Blanc tours with two levels of difficulty. The rating mainly focuses on the endurance of travelers and the guide may decide on site how far the participants can trek. He may adapt the tours if he sees that the group is well in form.
DO YOU HAVE A LUGGAGE LIMIT?
Yes, for the hike or bicycle tours we allow up to 12 kg in luggage weight per person. Otherwise the total limit is 20 kg per person.
Depending on the tour, yes, you can stay at an organic or permaculture farm. Generally these are run by local residents who have a passion for sustainability and who love to share what they do with visitors. Discussions with these farmers are always very informative and lead to the "aha" effect.
MEALS ARE INCLUDED IN THE TRIP FEES?
Yes of course, most of the meals are included. If you want to go out sometime to a fine dining restaurant, you can always ask the host of your hotel or guest inn for a good local recommendation.
WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE PLACES IN FRANCE – AND WHY?
Paris - because I was born there. But I also adore the Occitania region for its history and for its cuisine. [ This region was once called Aquitania ("Aquitaine") by the ancient Roman leaders and through the early Middle Ages. It is located in southwestern France. ]
IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO MENTION?
Yes, I welcome your readers to follow us on Instagram and to visit our website where we post photographs and videos on a regular basis. Thank you for your interest!
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