It is the 31st of January, 2014, 8:23am. We are leaving our apartment to go to the Montparnasse train station. After a 20 minute walk, 10 minute wait and 2 hours on the train, we arrive at one of the most historic capitals in the dukedom of Brittany, and begin the first stage of our Hopineo studies. Emotional…
We use our weekends to visit accomodations involved in sustainable tourism. Our aim is to meet landlords in order to:
- Better understand the sector.
- Discover and take note of good practices, know-hows and innovations.
- Learn from their experience.
- And improve with them the ideas we have in mind for our change of life style, that will be resolutely geared towards the responsibilization of tourist activities.
Basically, we are going to study ´sustainable tourism´!
After a half-hour walk that offers us a brief peek into the town and its ´vélo Star´, we arrive at our destination.
The hotel Lecoq-Gadby is a 100 year old hotel business with a 4 star grading. It has belonged to Véronique Bregeon for over 20 years, who has always been dedicated to sustainable development. This establishment was the first to recieve the ´eco-label´ title in France.
The hotel is made up of an old and a new part. The older part of the building faces the street and is duley named ´Tradition´and the modern side, built in 2008, is tucked into the backyard and was designed with a thoroughly eco concept in mind, right up to its spa!
No sooner than we had taken our room we already noticed the first ´good practices´of the hotel, from the soap dispensers (as opposed to individually wrapped soap bars that are never used up entirely) to the small notes placed on the towels, as well the solar panels, the game CoqEthik and the advertising for the cultural festival ´Les Coquecigrues´.
We have a meeting at 2.30pm with Véronique, who welcomes us warmly. We spend just over 2 hours together exchanging views and probing for interest in ´Hopineo´.
Firstly, mrs Bregeon explains to us how she and her husband have been dedicated to the cause for more than 20 years, and that until recently the eco engagement status of their hotel had not been advantageous. This is not the first time we have heard that! Up until quite recently, there were many a customer, especially in high-end establishments, who considered certain ´faults´of the hotel to be blamed on ecology; such as ´We get cold in the rooms because the hotel is economising on energy´or ´It´s too dark because of the energy saving light bulbs´ and so on. In another case, we heard about a restaurant whos service was criticised under the pretext that they had employees from social insertion…
So, we came to the agreement that these things tend to change; firstly because mentalities evolve and then, because eco products and technologies are improving at a greater pace, as is social and environmental innovation, which is just as well!
By the end of our meeting we took a tour around the property, paying special attention to all good practices put in place by the hotel. Before leaving us, mrs Bregeon confirms her interest in our travels and accepts for us to return for a week this summer to help out, particularly with the communications of the hotel and with the positioning of their high-end status through their numerous engagements.
As a bonus, Véronique announces that a journalist fron NeoPlanéte, who she had been in contact with about our project, was keen to meet us to learn more about it…
Therefore it is pumped up and full of encouragement that we finished our weekend and wrote up this report. Next Saturday we head for Erquy, not far from Saint-Malo to a B&B by the sea…
Some good practices from the hotel Lecoq-Gadby:
- Vélo Star: eco mobility
- Laundry trapdoor: social responsability & construction
- Soap dispenser: Organisation & waste management
- Solar panels: Construction & energy
- Notices on good practices: Tourist awareness & energy
- Fire alarms for the hearing impaired: Organisation & social responsability
- The CoqEthik game: Creating tourist awareness
Translated by Holly Cooper Chima