Great for kids, but not exclusively so – Les Villages Nature – Paris
It is hard to imagine that from this very spot not so long ago the vista would have been more like a boggy swamp than the glorious lush one that I can see today. I see a lake with flourishing wildlife, people enjoying themselves on little boats. Amazing architecture with restaurants, cafes, shops and accommodation buildings constructed from walls covered in plants. Steam rising into the crisp autumn air from the Aqualagon, one of the largest water parks in Europe, which is Geothermically hard-wired nearly 2km into the earth, sucking out the natural warmth of our planet which is then used to keep the water in the park at a constant toasty 30 degrees. That takes vision and genius.
Located at Marne-la-Vallée not far from the centre of Paris and neighbouring onto Disneyland Paris it is easily accessible by all the main travel methods. Eurostar, airports, main roads, etc. Popping next door to spend a day with Mickey and co would be no trouble. That is of course if you can find the time. There are more than 100 activities available to you to keep everyone entertained, and educated.
The park is divided into five universes known as immersive worlds.
The Aqualagon is the waterpark and has seven giant toboggans, huge outdoor lagoons which, as I mentioned earlier, are kept at 30°C all year long. A massive wave pool, play areas for children of all ages and Jacuzzis to just sit and chill. The Deep Nature Spa, where you can spoil yourself with wonderful treatments such as the”Escale romantique” or relax your little ones with a baby massage.
The BelleVie Farm where you can learn about farm animals and help with their care. More than 13 activities are available here. You can learn about organic gardening in the gardens and greenhouses. There is also an 800m2 indoor playground alongside the restaurant/lounge area.
Forêt des légendes (The forest of Legends) is a giant playground with zip slides, monkey bridges, toboggans and suspended dens, where the kids’ imaginations can go wild.
They can learn how to build wooden huts and use natural materials found in the forest to create amazing things.
The Forest of Legends interactive show tells the story of the inhabitants of the forest.
Jardins extraordinaires (Extraordinary gardens) are built around the four elements (water, air, fire and earth) and is spread out across two hectares. Lots of experiences and activities here including playgrounds, works of art and you can even meet the gardeners and learn a few of their tips and secrets.
Strolling around the Promenade du Lac you will find the welcome area, restaurants, shops and kids clubs.
Vapiano is well worth trying if you are into your Mediterranean-inspired dishes. Delicious Italian food prepared right in front of you including all your favourite pasta and pizzas all made with fresh ingredients.
PUR etc have food available to you at any time of day. The menu is created depending on which ingredients are currently in season and of what vegetables are available locally. Meals, snacks, sandwiches, and desserts are all on offer. I can personally recommend the scrumptious freshly pressed fruit juices. Some great and unusual recipes.
The French, as we all know, are really good at wine so if you fancy a tipple or two try Cépages. They have a great selection of quality wines and the staff are very knowledgeable and able to make suggestions and give advice. Food is available here too.
With over one million visitors expected every year, Les Villages Nature is planning on further developing their 250 hectares and doubling the current 800 cottages and apartments to 1600 by 2019.
Three options for accommodation are available. Starting with Clan Comfort cottages with fun decor situated in the woods. Prices start from 244€/£216 for two nights for a cottage. Country Premium, inspired by English country living, apartments and cottages located by the lake or in the woods. Prices start from 279€/£247 for two nights for a cottage or apartment. For a little more luxury, Cocoon VIP is designed with well-being in mind. Available as a cottage or apartment by the lake or in the village centre. Prices start from 349€/£309 for two nights for a cottage or apartment. (Prices based on four people, self-catering in January 2018.)
We checked out a Cocoon apartment which overlooked the lake. It was very tastefully decorated and furnished, roomy but still cosy. But the pièce de résistance for me was the big bathroom with a big jacuzzi, set behind a big window overlooking the lake. Imagine relaxing in there with a verre de vin rouge after a hard day entertaining the kids.
Les Villages Nature is a car-free holiday village, but unlike some of the other locations that I have visited your car is parked nearby your apartment/cottage making it easily accessible if you needed something from it or wanted to have a trip out of the village. Useful when you have loads of children stuff.
Bicycle hire for all ages and abilities is available at reasonable prices enabling easy access to all areas of the park.
Even as a grown up there is always something new to learn and I certainly learnt many interesting things during my visit, including how to make bread, keep bees, harvest honey and even how to make candles from their wax.
To sum up I would say that this place is exciting, fresh and different. Great for kids, but not exclusively so.
Getting to Les Villages Nature is a breeze thanks to the numerous transport links, as you would expect Paris is well served by airlines from all over the world. If you prefer to travel by road all major ferry ports from the UK have easy direct routes to Paris
Travelling by rail is a good option, a bus service direct from Marne-la-Vallée train station to the resort is available.
One comfortable and seamless option is to travel by Eurostar. With prices starting from £38 one-way for adults and £27 one-way for children aged between 4 and 11, based on a return journey. Children under 4 travel for free.
For more information about Les Villages Nature and to book:
call: 0845 351 0820