Darwin the Trendy Sustainable Side of Bordeaux
In 1996, Bordeaux decide to jack up and become a city of the 21st century. The ensuing project developed in several stages – the facades of the city’s Baroque buildings were cleaned (Bordeaux’s 18th-century heritage is exceptional), the docks along the Garonne river were reconditioned and a solar-powered tramway was built. The Bordelais are rightly proud of this sustainability initiative. This whole facelift led to the capital of Aquitania being chosen as the European Best Destination in 2015 with an all-time record score, ahead of the greats like Rome, Brussels, London and Berlin.
Apart from the aforementioned works, designed to modernise the city, Bordeaux has committed to sustainability. Among other things, three years ago this involved unveiling the Darwin Ecosysteme, an area around the Queyries quayside, although the project originally dates from 2005. This area, which stretches along the right bank of the Garonne, is sited over an erstwhile industrial zone. Cleaning it up and remodelling it took two years. The brain behind the project is Philippe Barre, an Bordeaux entrepreneur committed to sustainable development who did not hesitate to invest his own money in an ecosystem which combines energy efficiency, renewable energies, ecology and thrift. To this end, Darwin is managed by the Évolution Group, an incubator of companies devoted to sustainable development, funded through office space rentals and coworking, events organising and the support of private patrons and, to a lesser extent, public subsidies. The ultimate aim of this initiative is to elicit the responsible use of resources in order to check the advance of climate change.
At first glance Darwin looks like a half-derelict site, but it actually houses over a hundred companies, many of them start-ups, who are dedicated to sustainable development – a pre-condition for being allowed to set up here. This fosters a pleasant, ecological working environment for employees, able to reap the benefits of an ecosystem conducive to development and human growth. Also based here are around twenty Bordeaux associations involved in urban culture and ecology.
Darwin features some unique spaces, such as a huge skatepark built using recycled materials, graffiti-decorated walls, the Magasin Général, the largest biological restaurant in France and a macrostore with organic products. Protecting the environment is an idea which is here starting to take its first few tentative steps, so it comes as no surprise that the projects evolving in this area are still on a modest scale, such as protecting bees, organic allotments and free-range chicken rearing. There is also a recycling station which supplies material to the coworking spaces. In the future, Darwin will be hosting fully sustainable social housing, making it the most ecological district in Bordeaux.
Fancy seeing this sustainable district for yourself? Check out your Vueling to Bordeaux here.
Text and images by Tus Destinos
Images by Sara Soulignac and S.Duboscqmore info
Welcome to Bergreen
Proof of this is Berlin’s recent designation as the new vegetarian capital of the world, according to the prestigious American magazine, Saveur. Berliners love the green life. They are second to none when it comes to protecting their parks and gardens, and extending them as much as they can, wherever possible. And, in recent times, they have proved to be open to new procedures geared to eliciting a growing respect for the urban environment.
Public parks are practically an extension of their lounge, particularly in summer, when residents take them over for all kinds of outdoor activity. Each tree is protected and anyone who lacks their own family allotment is free to join any of the initiatives designed to boost the proliferation of community gardens. The fact is that Berlin is a city enamoured of environmental trends. For many Berliners, bicycles have replaced cars as a status symbol. At DIY workshops, they are learning to make their own clothes and furniture, eschewing industrial mass production, which its more harmful to the environment. In short, the LOHAS (“lifestyle of health and sustainability”) tenet is adopted by many here. Hence, today’s Berliner is a person who enjoys the pleasures of life, while following a healthy diet and making sustainable consumer decisions.
The Capital of Healthy Food
And, that is not just our opinion – the prestigious American culinary magazine, Saveur, has just granted Berlin the “Saveur Good Taste Award” for the best vegetarian city in the world. Indeed, when it comes to gastronomy, the city is far more than just currywurst and kebab. Recent progress in Berlin’s gastronomic trends is clearly a praiseworthy development. Any gourmand will tell you so – and not for nothing – as there are some 30 vegan and a total of 300 vegetarian restaurants and food stalls making up that health food network.
Thus, the changes in Berlin’s gastronomic scene are widely recognised. High-end vegetarian offerings surpass the meat-based supply, long a traditional mainstay. As well, recent years have seen the influence of immigration coming into the limelight, bringing culinary traditions that have contributed notably to the new variety in vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
Vegetarian Restaurants You Must Try
Vegetarian food now lies at the heart of Berlin’s culinary scene. Cookies Cream, for example, is one of the best known for its exclusiveness and for being a trendsetter among vegetarian restaurants. In 2014 it featured in Gault Millau, one of the leading nouvelle cuisine guides in the world. Here, the set menu works out at about 39 euros and includes such marvels as Sardinian crunchy potato lasagna with Swiss cheese truffle, pickled kohlrabi (a variety of cabbage) and radish. Another Berlin beacon is the restaurant offering innovative vegan cuisine, Lucky Leek. It also made its way into the prestigious Michelin Guide a short while ago. They serve à la carte on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, with complete menus on Friday and Saturday. Additionally, a growing number of chefs, like those at Nobelhart & Schmutzig, are using locally grown organic ingredients. Even fast-food street stalls are offering vegetarian snacks. Further information at visitBerlin.com.
In short, vegetarian trends are developing in synch with a new, far more complex movement based on sustainability. There is, for instance, a growing demand to reinforce the organic fabric and a call to broaden the reach of vegetarian and social cuisine projects. One example is the imminent inauguration of Restlos Glücklich, which is to feature leftover food on its menu. This involves a new, much more sustainable business concept and a more responsible attitude towards the environment. The raw materials in their cuisine are still fresh, yet they have been withdrawn from sale for whatever reasons (the sell-by date is nearing, there isn’t sufficient storage space for the surplus, etc.). This means that the menu changes every day, as it depends on the food that is available in each instance. Apart from feeding their guests, the idea of the restaurant is to raise awareness. The establishment also offers cooking lessons and organises activities for children.
To round off the green experience, what better than to spend the night at NH Collection Berlin Friedrichstrase. This is an eco-friendly hotel which takes into account a positive impact on the environment through responsible energy consumption. And, how do you reduce your carbon footprint on the environment? By reducing energy consumption with the use of light bulbs that yield a saving of 29.3%, in addition to a 29.5% reduction in water consumption.
Why wait to discover Bergreen for yourself? Check out our flights here.
Text by ISABELYLUIS Comunicaciónmore info