In hotel surroundings, even in town centres, designed as an integral part of tourist sites or simply as places to stroll in flowered cities or villages, gardens and natural landscapes are the DNA of tourist destinations. Creating their designs, ensuring their maintenance and restoration are all paramount challenges for local authorities and individuals promoting tourism.
Landscaping is the lifeblood of Paysalia to be held from 3rd to 5th December 2019 at Eurexpo, Lyon, France.
Gardens are a good way to attract tourists
In 2014, the CNVVF (the French National Council for Flowered Cities and Villages), in partnership with market research company IPSOS, produced a barometer of the quality of life in Flowered Cities and Villages and their attractiveness for tourists. It showed that over and above the site’s geographical location and historical heritage, flowered and landscaped spaces enhance the attractiveness of destinations. Among the elements constituting the physical environment of a place, landscaped and flowered spaces encourage 53%1 of the people questioned to choose it as a destination for a weekend or their holidays. Green walks (68%), views over natural landscapes (50%) and parks and gardens (45%) are the key elements which make a city or village pleasant for holidays.
CNVVF director Martine Lesage says this trend has developed since 2014: “Inhabitants have never felt the need for nature downtown so much as now. And tourists flock to towns and villages where the public spaces and gardens are well-kept. To attract visitors and give them what they want so they come back, Green Space services have redoubled their efforts. Towns and villages must be beautiful, so that people want to walk and stay there. Vegetation is of course one factor but others are clean and appropriate street furniture, elegant pedestrian circuits and convivial meeting places like squares with welcoming bars with flowered terraces…”.
The 4-flower label has become a criterion for attracting visitors. Indeed, for 50% of the people polled2, towns and villages with Flower labels are privileged destinations. “Tourist spots often have several labels. Flowered Cities and Villages labels say it all and are recognized by tourists”, adds Martine Lesage. “Starting from the 3-flower level our selection criteria integrate guided tours of gardens (secrets, courtyards, history) and flower-garden circuits which are very successful. During these visits, guides explain the designs of the gardens and their history. There are always a host of anecdotes to tell!”
Chambord, the revival of the “jardins à la française”
One of the emblematic Châteaux in the Val de Loire, a million visitors savour Chambord’s architecture and gardens every year. Last year the gardens were completely redesigned to restore them to their 18th century glory – the peak of French formal garden landscaping. Destroyed by the French Revolution in 1789 the works required 15 years of historical research and months of earth-moving to revive the 6.5 hectare site. Now four giant fleurs de lys, the lily symbolising the French monarchy, each covering 3,000sq.m., decorate the lawns and the garden is identical to its ancestor.
© Sophie Lloyd
The example of Huttopia - nature is its showcase and landscapes its views
We live in hyper-connected and frantic times. The soothing effects of nature, over and above gardens as showcases for cities, castles and tourist centres, are an attraction in themselves. An increasingly urban population is seeking total immersion in nature – and anticipating the trend, Huttopia campsites do just that!
© All rights reserved - Huttopia-R.Etienne
In 2005, Celine and Philippe Bossanne opened the first Huttopia site in Versailles. Today, the brand operates 33 campsites and 4 forest villages in France and is extending its activities abroad. In the mountains, in the countryside, in forests and on the banks of lakes, rivers, seas and oceans, Huttopia proposes a totally different approach to camping - a new environmentally-friendly way of spending holidays in France’s most beautiful landscapes.
This approach is called “glamping”, i.e. glamorous camping – in natural, disconnected, sites where you can nevertheless pitch your tent with all mod cons.
The Utopia of Huttopia is to have the least possible impact on nature so as not to leave any trace of its passage if the site had to close. Huttopia CEO Céline Bossanne explains: “When we get to a site, we start by exploring the surroundings and spending time on the spot. We imagine where to locate the different elements of our product - the life centre, the pitches, the pathways and car access. We spend a lot of time with our architect and our teams to define the project in function of the site so as to impact it as little as possible. All the buildings are on piles. Mains networks are as least invasive as possible. We only fell trees if they are dangerous and position the pitches around the tress and not the opposite. Nature is there, we preserve it, we love it – and we do not change it. Our occupation of the site is not brutal.
We try not to change the site at all. Maintenance is the vital factor and we design a host of natural spaces. We plant very few species, just some local vegetation. For example, on our Dieulefit site (Drôme, France), we planted a field of local Bio lavender, on a well-exposed slope just above the pond. It could have existed without us! We want guests to feel they are camping in nature.”
Landscapes & Tourist Attractiveness – a central theme at Paysalia
Throughout the three days of the Show, exhibitors and sponsors like the CNVVF host everyone involved in tourism (hotels, campsites, tourist spots) to present them with solutions specifically tailored to their needs. Paysalia also stages conferences on these themes
 Figures from the CNVVF / IPSOS barometer of June 2014
 Figures from the CNVVF / IPSOS barometer of June 2014
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