If you’re torn between a nature-based vacay and a jaunt to Disneyland — with a wee bit of Paris in the mix — you’re soooo in luck. A brand new family resort — Villages Nature Paris — has opened minutes away from Disneyland Paris, and it’s pretty much a paradise for those wanting to enjoy natural and man-made fun. The resort boasts five immersive lands in a gloriously green and sustainable environment (and without ANY Disney branding or characters). See what awaits you when the House of Mouse meets Mother Nature.
This project was a biggie. The resort is a collaboration between Disney and Your Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs, a development company known for creating family destinations with a focus on nature. The modern eclectic architecture intermingles with green spaces, all operating solely on renewable energy.
There are lands! The resort is made up of five different areas: the Aqualagon, the Extraordinary Gardens, the Forest Legends, the Belle Vie Farm, and the Lakeside Promenade.
This place is SO GREEN, y'all. It operates on renewable energy (solar, wind, and geothermal).There's a no-car policy, the buildings are made using "green architecture," and many have green roofs. Plus, there are 28,800 trees and 430,000 plants onsite.
Go for a little splishing and splashing. The Aqualagon is a huge — like, crazy huge — indoor water park. There are water slides (seven of them), wave pools, jacuzzis, and an outdoor pool that’s naturally heated to 86° all year round, even in winter. The sites' heating and hot water all comes from the geothermal energy found 1,900 meters below ground; it's a sustainable energy that produces zero greenhouse gases.
Play with the animals at BelleVie Farm. In this rustic (and functional!) area of the resort, you can feed goats or prep a meal for chickens, and your kids can take a ride on a pony. Children can also take advantage of the epic playground in a full-scale farm that has silo slides, hay bale trampolines, and tractor bikes. One of the big goals of this area is to educate children about nature and farm life.
Visit the Extraordinary Gardens. These parcels of well-tended land aren’t just for show; most are actual functioning agricultural areas with heirloom apples in the orchard and raised beds filled with vegetables. Their “artist-artisans” are on hand to give growing advice and host a variety of workshops. Beyond the foodie-centric Earth Garden, there’s the Fire Garden (for nighttime visits), the Air Garden (with wide open spaces), and the Water Garden (with soothing sounds of waterfalls).
They plan to grow their own food for the restaurants on the premises as well as host farmers' markets (which is way handy, since the accommodations include kitchens). And of course, their restaurants serve up a fair amount of organic, fair trade, and sustainable grub.
There’s plenty to keep you busy. On any given day, you can hit the wellness center (who doesn’t need a massage, amirite?), go bowling (yeah, they have lanes), spend the night dancing, take a cooking class, or paddle a canoe around the lake. Or, just stroll around the grounds and enjoy the environment; they are committed to only developing 10 percent of the land.
They took a whole lot of care creating the place. As Imagineer Joe Rodhe noted during a recent visit, “The architectural color was derived from leaf and flower samples collected on site across a calendar year.” Other large buildings feature rooftop gardens and living walls, and others will be covered with ivy to blend in with the surrounding nature.
Of course, there’s the stellar accommodations to think about too. The apartments and cottages sleep 2-12 people and have full kitchens and private terraces or balconies. The building was made using wood coming from French origin or sustainably managed forests, and they took care to use non-toxic paints. The apartments also include energy efficient appliances, 'natch.
Would you stay at a nature-themed hotel? Tell us @BritandCo!
Photos via Villages Nature/Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs