A theme park where nature rules. In Paris?
Imagine a theme park where nature rules. Imagine a theme park where water based fun and immersive experiences in nature replace thrill rides and hydraulics. I always long for this by the end of a day at any theme park, so was delighted to find out it exists. And what’s more, it’s on the doorstep of Disneyland® Paris, nnd if you are a fan of Mickey you can do a two centre break. In this advertising feature we explore the concept of Villages Nature® Paris eco park, only a few hours from the UK…
At home in a natural theme park
It could be because I live on the edge of the Lake District – a green themed wonderland imagineered by Mother Nature herself – but I’ve always found theme parks more magical in my imagination than a visit. Even in the best of them I never quite bought into the landscaped ‘zones’ and sculpted islands labelled the Wild West or Aztec Mexico and neither did my kids.
I like rides. I enjoy thrills. But I never mentally get past the concrete at theme parks. And the concession stalls. And the unhealthy food and the consumption of plastic.
More meaningful thrills
I prefer my thrills to be wrapped up in a nature. And as I made clear in my last post on Thirlmere, I believe you have to work for them in some way. I also like to learn something on holiday. But I have enjoyed visiting Center Parcs style places where forest lodges combine natural experiences with a pool or hot-tub and outdoor activities. So when I heard this concept has been taken a step further, and developed into an environmentally sustainable, family friendly park, I was interested.
Maximum fun, minimal impact
Villages Nature® Paris opened last year with an aim of “immersing its one million visitors a year in nature while minimising its impact on the planet.” The eco park worked with Bioregional to develop a Sustainable Action Plan based on the objectives of One Planet Living, which encourages businesses to carefully consider their use of the earth’s resources, and leave space for wilderness and wildlife. A ten point plan includes a food waste scheme on site, food sourced locally and water recycling.
Ditching the car and enjoying the eco ride
Villages Nature® Paris was conceived by a partnership between Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances; but connection with guests is predominantly through nature. Instead of a princess castle there’s enchanting forests and hanging gardens. Thrills come from learning and challenging yourself. You want to climb a tree? There are around 25000 in the Extraordinary Gardens and plenty to hide behind or hang out in at the Forest of Legends. You’d like to ditch the car and cycle around? That’s part of the point. Villages Nature® Paris has been designed with public transport in mind. It is located in Paris in Marne-la-Vallée; 32 km from Paris, 6 km from Disneyland® Paris, 20 minutes from the Marne-la-Vallée-Chessy TGV station, 10 minutes from CDG airport and three miles from a TGV/Eurostar/RER railway station. So if you’ve been thinking about a rail trip, here’s your chance.
The five pillars of a nature village
Villages Nature® Paris offers educational activities as well as water adventures in five specially designed worlds:
Extraordinary green space
Extraordinary Gardens offers what it says on the tin – a fun filled garden experience you won’t find anywhere else. Perfect for younger children there’s over two hectares of nature, built around the elements of water, air, fire and earth. Families can explore a vegetable garden, a maze and endless orchards of apple, pear and cherry trees. There are play areas, interactive experiences and land art. Curious adventurers can meet the gardener, play a series of life sized board games and delve into an adventure bag.
For kids up to age twelve, the Forest of Legends is a wooded adventure. Play nests and secret areas fit into trees and copses, and children are encouraged to cross rope bridges, explore mysterious trails and respond to stories from the forest. There are ziplines and monkey bridges for mini thrill seekers, and to calm down they can build their own hideouts and take part in creative workshops using the materials they find around them.
Hands on farm experience
What kid doesn’t like farm animals? BelleVie Farm offers the chance to learn about harnessing nature and is designed to mirror traditional farms of the local Brie region. The main courtyard is surrounded by high walls, moats, to give the feel of a semi fortified farm. Classes are the thing here, from bread, to butter to beekeeping.
Lagoon based riding and sliding
Ramping up the activity, the geothermically heated Aqualagoon is one of the largest covered waterparks in Europe. Fancy splashing about? Choose from the wave pool, adventure river, climbing wall, paddling pools, jacuzzis and deep Nature Spa. For thrill seekers Rocket is a capsule ride that will literally take your feet from under you, with half a dozen waterslides providing supporting adventures.
And then after that warm up, you can do water basketball, aqua jump, and paddleboarding. Exhausted after just reading about it? A comfy cottage awaits…
Accommodation is designed to mirror the outdoors, much of it set around forest and lake. Clan Comfort accommodation offers cottages in the woods. Country Premium cottages and apartments are inspired by English country living and can be found by the lake or in the woods.Cocoon VIP is available as a cottage or apartment by the lake or in the village centre. All accommodation has free Wi-Fi, fully-equipped kitchens with dishwashers, furnished terraces or balconies and flat-screen TVs. For more information about Villages Nature® Paris visit www.villagesnatureparis.co.uk
This post is a paid collaboration with Villages Nature® Paris. All words and opinions are as ever, all our own.