What is Villages Nature Paris?
A collaboration between Disneyland Paris and Center Parcs France, Villages Nature Paris is a massive compound that features cottages, apartment complexes, a forest and lake and it’s 10-minutes’ drive away from Disneyland Paris.
Where is it:
Villages Nature Paris is on Route de Villeneuve, 77700 Villeneuve-le-Comte, France. It’s 6km from DisneyLand Paris and 32km from the French capital. It’s a car-free resort, so if you are driving, after dropping off your belongings you can leave your car in a free onsite car-park.
How do you get to Villages Nature Paris?
We took the Eurostar service from London St Pancras direct to Marne-La-Vallée/ Chessy, the station for DisneyLand Paris and the journey took 2hrs 49 outbound and 2hrs 55 on the return. From there it was a ten-minute taxi transfer to Villages Nature Paris, although regular buses are available too. Rafferty is two years old so he didn’t need a ticket on the Eurostar (children under four travel for free) and as we travelled in Standard Premier class, which has wider seats, it meant we still had lots of room to spread out. It also meant we had complimentary meals and drinks served at our seat too, which saved having to take food with us or buy it on board.
My children love train travel so it was very exciting for them and unlike travelling by plane or car they were able to stretch their legs wandering around too.
It’s also accessible from Paris’ airports though, which are served by airlines including British Airways and Air France (the flight times vary depending on where in the UK you fly from, but London to Heathrow to Paris Charles De Gaulle takes just over an hour) and it’s about a three hour drive from Calais if you want to use the Eurotunnel or ferry.
The nearest town is Bailly-Romainvilliers which is about a ten-minute drive away.
A fantastic base for the famous park, it’s an idyllic retreat where you can get back to nature and enjoy a huge range of activities as a family.
There is loads to do for all ages, but I think an active family, who enjoy learning new skills and getting stuck into activities would get the most out of it. Fergus is five and Rafferty is two and they both absolutely loved it.
When is the best time to go to Villages Nature Paris:
It’s definitely somewhere you can enjoy in the colder months to take advantage of the cheaper rates – it has classes like butter churning and arts and crafts that are held inside, as having well as the obvious appeal of the warmth of the Aqualagon (the swimming pool complex) in the winter.
But there is so much to do outside, in particular the amazing outdoor pool area and the fantastic playgrounds in the Forest of Legends, I think the hot summer months would be the best time to visit, in fact that’s when we will return as a family.
What is the accommodation like at Villages Nature Paris?
It’s an eco-friendly holiday village, set in a forest and around a lake, with five ‘immersive worlds’ designed to encourage guests to unwind and enjoy learning about sustainable living in a natural environment.
The worlds comprise Belle Vie Farm, which is home to lots of animals you can visit including cows, horses and pigs, while pony-trekking and cooking classes take place here; the Forest of Legends, which is a huge play area built into the trees; the Extraordinary Gardens, beautiful landscaped grounds with games and activities scattered throughout that young and old will enjoy; the Aqualagon, a massive swimming pool complex; and the Lakeside Promenade, home to restaurants, wine bar and shops.
Once the first phase of building, due to be finished in November 2017, is complete there will be 868 cottages and apartments in the village, accommodating around 4,000 guests at a time, and up to 1,000 additional day guests.
In the next year, they are planning to increase this to 1,083 apartments and cottages, and hoping to swell that number to 1600 in the next five to six years.
Our Clan Comfort Cottage was light and airy, the kitchen had a fridge, microwave, hob, dishwasher, as well as crockery and cooking equipment, a filter coffee machine, kettle and toaster. The dining area seated four and there was a comfy lounge area – the sofa also folded out to be a double sofa bed. But while the beds were very comfortable, the bedrooms in our cottage were on the compact side.
Do you need to bring any bed sheets?
No, the beds were all made up except for the travel cot, which we needed to bring sheets for.
How many restaurants are there?
There are four restaurants open so far:
- PUR Etc. which prepares seasonal dishes
- Italian restaurant Vapiano
- Cépages Restaurant and Wine Bar
- Les Délices de la Ferme – the farm’s tea shop.
What’s the food like at Villages Nature Paris?
We go to Center Parcs a lot and usually take all our own food as we don’t rate the restaurants but this is definitely not the case at Villages Nature Paris – all the food we ate was excellent.
Vapiano was my children’s favourite – they made pizzas designed to look like rabbits, which went down very well, and they were enormous! I enjoyed a pizza (which cost around €12), we also tried some of their salads and a beef carpaccio, all of which were tasty, fresh and again, very big portions.
We all adored the delicious freshly made apple juice, cheese and cured meats in Pur Etc (we were served a buffet for press so hard to judge portion size here) and we were in gourmet heaven in Cépages Restaurant and Wine Bar, savouring top quality charcuterie, which even Fergus enjoyed, and delicious cheese, washed down with champagne. Heaven!
What kind of activities are there to do?
There are dozens of different activities to do, some are included in the price, such as visiting the ponies and pigs at Belle Vie Farm, water polo, a beach sports tournament, family cooking classes, and giant outdoor games, while others you need to pay extra for, such as pony rides (€14 for 30 mins), Teen Forest Challenge (€ 15, 90 mins) and Segways, (€16 for 25 mins)
What are the pools like?
The main indoor pools are within the Aqualagon – an enormous glass and wood structure. There’s a splash area with slides for children, a baby pool that also has slides; I particularly liked the soft padding on the floor at the end of the slides to protect their little bottoms on landing! I also thought the little sandpit within the baby pool area was a brilliant touch.
The Aqualagon also has large Jacuzzi areas – sadly I didn’t get any child-free time to make the most of those.
There are also slides for adults, requiring various levels of courage to attempt, including one where you stand in a tube, press a button and the floor gives way beneath you, leaving you shooting down a near vertical drop. (No, I didn’t try it!)
There’s a wave pool which has a channel leading off it you can swim through that takes you to the outdoor pool area – which is absolutely huge. There’s a large infinity pool area overlooking the lake, but there’s also a brilliant lazy river with lots of areas leading off from it in parts where there things like Jaccuzi jets. There’s an outdoor splash area too.
What are the facilities for parents like? What do you think of the price, are they easy to book?
There are parent friendly activities like wine-tasting (€ 40 for 1hrs 30), all activities can be booked through the Welcome House on the Lakeside promenade.
We booked an electric boat, it cost €20.50 for half an hour, we thought it was quite reasonably priced and simple to book.
- Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with newborns
Baby massage class (when the spa opens in October) (€75, 50 mins)
Baby swimming class (€12, 45 minutes)
Visiting the animals at Belle Vie Farm. Free
- Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with babies 1-5 years
Climbing the apparatus in the Forest of Legends. Free
Pony ride (€14, 30mins)
Taking an electric boat out onto the lake (€20.50, 30 mins)
- Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with children 6-12 years
Beekeeping (Adults €15, children €10)
Aquaslide (€12, 30 mins)
- Top 3 things to do at your destination/resort with teens
Bowling (€32, 55 mins)
Gametown (Tokens for games start at €1.50)
Family cooking (1hr 30, free)
Is there any facility that’s not available?
The only thing it would seem to benefit from is a big sports hall, somewhere to do indoor sports activities if the weather is poor.
Is there a sitters service, how does it work and what do you think of it?
This wasn’t clear when we were there.
How child-friendly is Villages Nature Paris?
It has been designed with children in mind. For example, in Pur Etc there is a kids’ play area complete with toy kitchen and books, which meant I could concentrate on my cappuccino while Fergus and Rafferty played happily. The family changing rooms in the Aqualagon were plentiful and the nappy changing areas were clean.
My husband and I agreed that the milk and cheese themed soft-play at the farm ‘Lait’s Play’ (geddit?!) is the best we have ever seen – there were huge wooden boxes built on top of each other with ladders and slides built into them so Fergus felt he was having a real adventure as he explored, there was a ‘milk lorry’ he could climb into and under, and little tractors they could drive around on.
There’s a Baby Club for children from four months old to three years old, which is open from 9.30am to 5.30pm, and costs 55€ per half-day. While the Kids Club, for children aged from 4 to 11 years, gets children out and about on the site, for example they may be taken to the Forest of Legends, where they do activities such as ‘identify the trees’ and ‘creating a compass’. It costs 25€ per half-day.
What happens if a child gets lost?
According to Village Nature Paris, ‘If children go missing, security is immediately called and takes care of the child. For confidentiality and safety reasons, we can’t give more details.’
Is it easily accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs?
The site was perfectly accessible by pushchair, we took our lightweight Recaro Easylife and didn’t struggle getting around with it. I assume it would be the same for a wheelchair. There was no area we couldn’t access on four wheels – if there was a flight of stairs somewhere, there was also a ramp or a lift nearby.
Is it pet friendly?
Yes and we did see several guests walking around with their dogs.
What do you have to bring on the holiday?
Aside from the obvious things like swimming gear and wet weather stuff you don’t actually need anything else as everything is laid on. The accommodation is self-catering so you can bring your own food, although there’s a well-stocked supermarket where you can get all the bits you need. There are great cycling paths around the site, you can either bring your own or hire them there. We were offered the use of bikes and a carriage for Rafferty and Fergus but we found the central area of the site was very accessible on foot and we were so busy fitting all the activities into our short stay of two days we didn’t have time to fit in leisurely bike rides around as well.
Are the shops good value for money?
It seemed to be fairly priced. We only needed to buy little bits like cheese (€6 for two decent sized chunks of Comte and Emmental) and also a bottle of wine, which seemed much cheaper than you would typically pay in the UK.
Does it feel safe after dark?
It does feel very safe after dark, the central areas are brightly lit but as they are still finishing the resort, the outside lights around our cottage weren’t working yet so it was quite dark getting back at night. We were told this issue was going to be resolved shortly.
Is there wifi access all around the park?
Yes, it’s free and the signal was strong.
I think as a parent, particularly if you have been to Center Parcs, the thing that’s important to know is there is actually loads to do for free, you don’t need to factor in needing to spend loads on activities to fill up the week.
Be careful not to cram too much into your stay. We rushed around trying to do everything, instead of just going with the flow. I will definitely take a more relaxed approach on our next visit. I think four or five days would be the perfect amount of time to see everything Villages Nature Paris has to offer.
Essential info (hotel and flight credits)
Clan Comfort accommodation: prices start from 244€/£216 for two nights for a cottage sleeping four people on a self-catering basis in January 2018.
Country Premium accommodation: Prices start from 279€/£247 for two nights for a cottage or apartment sleeping four people on a self-catering basis in January 2018.
Cocoon VIP: Prices start from 349€/£309 for two nights for a cottage or apartment sleeping four people on a self-catering basis in January 2018.
To book, please call 0845 351 0820 or visit Villages Nature Paris website
Fares direct to Disneyland from the UK (London St. Pancras, Ashford International and Ebbsfleet International) start 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. Alongside the direct train, passengers can easily connect via Paris or Lille.
For more information or to book Eurostar tickets visit Eurostar or call the contact centre on 03432 186 186.