When I started Ethik Hotels, I also discovered Instagram. Thanks to the magic of hashtags, I came across the account of the restaurant La Table de Colette. I immediately fell in love with the eco-responsible approach of Josselin Marie and his team. I was also able to chat with Nicolas Bellard, Chef de Partie of this beautiful Parisian address, who also describes himself as a Sunday traveller. Looking at the photos on his Instagram account, we would all like to have Sundays like his!
Can you introduce yourself and tell us what travel means to you?
Hello, so to quickly introduce myself, my name is Nicolas Bellard, cook in a gastronomic restaurant with big “eco-bobo” trends!
Between childhood and teenage holidays in various European countries but also in New York and Morocco, then my first humanitarian trip to Africa in 2013 and a 9 months world tour in 2017, I would simply say that travelling is a big part of my life!
What was the trip that made the biggest impression on you? Why or why not?
If we speak of travel as a road trip, then a world tour is a long, intense and extraordinary experience. You are totally disconnected from the routine of European life, to juggle from one adventure to another in a perpetual wonderment. A once in a lifetime experience.
If we talk about my favourite country, it’s a different story! Each country has something to amaze you in its own way. And that remains subjective, one single encounter can change your perception of a whole country. That’s why I always try to separate what I saw from what I experienced.
But if I had to choose only one (to my great regret) I would choose Cambodia, a perfect cocktail between what I saw and what I experienced there.
How do you see post-Covid tourism?
The “Covid era” has compartmentalised countries and massively reduced international tourism at a time when climate change is accelerating. Is it not up to us, the new generation, to rethink the future of tourism in a more sustainable way?
To begin with, the major problem: the plane, that ecological disaster. Post-Covid tourism must drastically reduce its use. Learn or re-learn to travel less far and rediscover more respectful means of transport (boat, bicycle, train).
Multiply committed tourism! Swap sunbathing for a day of beach cleaning? Swap Club Med for a solidarity or humanitarian trip? And so many other ideas that will allow us to approach tourism in a more sustainable way with our imagination as the only limit!
Boycott cruises! Worse than the plane (which only serves as a means of transport), the cruise is an ecological disaster!
What about carbon offsetting? Roughly calculate the carbon weight of your holiday and choose a way to compensate it with an ecological project (many companies offer carbon compensation for individuals today). Plant trees for example!
This should be done after having reduced the carbon footprint of your holiday as much as possible beforehand, but it should not be an excuse not to change your habits. Eating a Domac on the plane to go lion hunting in Tanzania and coming back to plant an oak tree in its memory is not carbon compensation.
Post-Covid tourism must be the tourism of renewal, the learning of discovery in symbiosis with our challenges and our planet.
What is your next holiday destination?
I’m more into long trips than short holidays! My next project would be to work for a year in the United States, then go to Cayenne (Guyana) by road through Central and Northern South America.
Do you have a book to recommend that we could put in our suitcase this summer?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho for those who have not read it! Travel is the best time to read this kind of book.
Weber’s Ultimate Secret! A book I loved to read while travelling, very intelligent!