From geothermic lagoons bubbling hot all year round to hands-on workshops in beekeeping and bread-making, this magical resort strives to prove that people and nature can exist in total harmony.
Villages Nature Paris is a brand-new destination completely reinventing the concept of holidays. Located just 32 kilometres (20 miles) from Paris and six kilometres (four miles) from Disneyland Paris, this eco-friendly holiday village comprises five immersive worlds designed to encourage guests to unwind and enjoy learning about sustainable living in a natural environment.
The ultimate gem of this resort is the Aqualagon, boasting itself as one of the biggest water parks in Europe to be heated entirely with geothermal energy. This geothermal energy allows guests to bathe in the outdoor lagoons, which are heated to 30°C (86°F) throughout the year, spanning its warmth across an impressive total surface area of 11,500 square metres (124,000 square feet).
It’s a captivating experience to be able to paddle around in this turquoise-hued wonderland – even in the depths of winter. What’s more, it actually feels like a real-life lagoon thanks to the stunning décor of boulders, fountains and whimsical geyser-esque vapours.
But the fun doesn’t stop with just a huge, bubbling lagoon. There are giant water slides and hot tubs, thrilling white-water rivers and wave pools, as well as a unique aquatic climbing wall to rekindle the sense of childish adventure that hides inside every adult.
If you’re after a heart-racing challenge, make sure to book the fantastic aquajump. The trampoline in the water will get you bouncing back into shape in no time. There’s also aquabiking for the brave, a more intense burst of watery excitement.
After an adventure-filled morning on these aquatic attractions, you can slink off to the spa area where a range of relaxing treatments are available. Or, if these adventures have awakened your appetite for adrenaline, you can take them a step further in The Forest of Legends.
In the heart of this seemingly enchanted forest sprawls an endless playground that will delight not only little ones but also ‘big kids’ alike. In fact, you’re almost overwhelmed by the freedom in this magical place.
You can choose to build and decorate your own hut or secret den, sneak away into tree houses, or explore mysterious trails, letting your imagination run wild. Rarely in our modern lives do we get the chance to simply run riot in the woods, so it’s a welcome space to let loose. There is also a selection of workshops, puzzles and interactive shows on offer.
Not only does the great location of this resort offer electric cars for hire and strongly encourage people to arrive by public transport, so as to cut down on carbon emissions, it is also pioneering some other, impressive eco-friendly changes.
There’s a highly innovative approach to water management lurking below the Aqualagon, where a series of planted ponds, otherwise known as ‘filtering gardens’, clean the used water and feed it back into the onsite lake. It’s a process known as ‘reverse osmosis’, meaning that, overall, 37% of its water is reused. There are over 28,800 trees and 430,000 plants dotted around these ponds too.
These measures compliment the resort’s full commitment to renewable energy for heat and hot water, achieved by installing all the holiday homes with low-consumption appliances and green architecture (such as green roofs).
What’s more, all these homes use 100% FSC-certified wood and have eco-labelled and non-toxic paints and floors. The eco-friendly commitment is evident right down to the décor, with tree-branch coat hooks and leaf-emblem wallpaper. The site also prioritises the use of local resources, including French timber and local food.
The BelleVie Farm is one of the most unique attractions, a working farm where, instead of just observing the animals, guests can actually relish the simple pleasures of life on the farm. You’re invited to truly experience the life of a farmer and engage in everything, from seeing how cows are milked to growing fruit and vegetables, making honey and baking bread.
What’s great about the bread-making workshop is that you can let your creativity reign freely. Why not bake a baguette in the shape of an Eiffel Tower? Or a flower? The friendly expert bakers will help you make whatever bread takes your fancy.
As far as restaurants go, there’s ample choice. Whether you prefer the luxurious delicacies at Cépages’ wine bar, the rustic vegan friendly offerings at PUR etc, or the sizzling hot pizza and pastas at the ultra-modern Vapiano, the food is wholesome and truly delicious.
Since tourism accounts for 10% of global emissions, with transport being the major contributor (this resort provides incentives to favour low-carbon travel options), the establishment of holiday resorts such as Villages Nature is a necessary step towards a sustainable (but still fun!) future.