As part of Disney’s agreement with the French government, Villages Nature has been created as an eco-tourism resort that sits independently to Disneyland Paris and its partner Pierre & Vacances (Center Parcs). One thing to make very clear from the outset is that, despite its Disney Nature Resort branding, Villages Nature is not a Disney resort; it is closer to something like a Center Parcs that is simply located near Disney.
Having said that, tagging a stay at Villages Nature to a Disney holiday is a wonderful idea, you now have a dual-edged holiday resort that can both offer the relaxation of the holiday park and the excitement of the Disneyland Paris parks.
As part of the InsideEars Hotels and Resorts Discovery Weekend, DLP Town Square was invited to discover Villages Nature with the Disneyland Paris teams.
5 unique worlds
Villages Nature Paris features 5 unique worlds to explore: Aqualagon, Bellevie Farm, Forest of Legends, Extraordinary Gardens, and the Lakeside Promenade. Each feels very different and each offers very different activities.
The Aqualagon is the stunning showpiece of the resort, both architecturally and features and was designed by architect Jaques Ferrier. I found my gaze constantly drawn to it during my short visit. Inside, the pool area is quite simply, amazing and easily one of the best resort pools that I have ever seen. There’s so much to do here: swimming, lazy river, slides, geothermal pools, sauna, spa, harman.
The Aqualagon is also a structure that you can climb, the summit – or Belvédère – offers a 360 degree vista over Villages Nature that, on a sunny day, is a delight. From the summit why not take a glance over to Disneyland Paris, you can see it very clearly from this height.
The Bellevie Farm features shows, a restaurant, activity classes and a petting zoo. I got such a thrill from seeing horses, pigs, cows, goats and rabbits. Each animal you are able to feed and some even pet.
The Forest of Legends is a giant children’s play area in a woodland setting. Here, the story is all the tales of the woodland. This is also the centre where you’ll find Segway tours and outdoor activities.
The Extraordinary Gardens – there are four of them and are themed to earth, fire, water and air – are garden walks. Each garden has a unique theme and activities that focus around these themes. What I particularly liked was the emphasis on activity and fauna with each type of plant being given a sign explaining what it is. However, this part didn’t reach its full potential in my February visit and looked a little barren, I’d like to return in the Summer to see how it evolves with the season.
The Lakeside Promenade is the central shopping and dining district. The layout is nice, and looks pretty on a warm day. Here you’ll find plenty to do including a Franprix, Nature & Decouvertes, Swimming shop and more!
In addition to the included activities (such as the pool, farm etc), there are a large number of activities that guests at this resort can take advantage of including an Escape Room, Bowling, Segway Tours, Rock Climbing, karaoke and more.
Restaurants, and food
Whilst the focus of the resort is on self-catering accommodation – a large Franprix on-site facilitates this with delivery – there are still a number of restaurants. Each of these are provided by external caters, and provide a range of cuisine.
Vapiano is an Italian food restaurant serving fresh pizza, pasta and salads. Each of these is cooked freshly to order.
Cépages is a French food outlet focusing on shared food and experiences and good wines.
Chez Meunier is a bakery style outlet. Pur is a healthy food outlet and there are more dotted around the resort that I didn’t see (such as a bowling cafe, a tea saloon etc).
Cocoon VIP Apartment
The Cocoon VIP apartments are the flagship accommodation in Villages Nature Paris. Located centrally in the resort, these apartments are luxurious and spacious.
Upon entering the apartment, the first thing that strikes you is the space. These are not designed like hotel rooms, these are living spaces with a living room (with sofa bed), dining area and kitchenette.
Each Cocoon VIP apartment has a balcony with more seating areas, many with lake views.
The bath/Jacuzzi has a large window looking out on the view for those wanting to enjoy their bath in style – or with the curtain closed for the privacy.
Bedrooms and bathroom space is plentiful allowing each member of your group the chance to have space and privacy.
Country Premium Apartment
The Country Premium apartments are typically smaller than the Cocoon VIP apartments, but also have a different design and style. These ones were designed by a British designer, and whilst the space is a little bit smaller it doesn’t feel in anyway cramped.
The Kitchenette remains here with dining space and living room space. Once again, the sofa here unfolds out to become a sofa bed.
Depending on the apartment bought there may be up to two extra bedrooms each room has its own unique woodland-inspired design.
These are again dotted across the resort but again reasonably close to all the features and facilities. The design feels modern and something that will fit the modern guest.
The Future of Villages Nature
Villages Nature is still in its infancy, its design and ambition is to grow. It’s very possible that the resort will double in size over the course of the next 30 or so years with new conference centres, activity centres and much more.
Obviously this does very much depend on the success of the resort, but the land is earmarked and plans are being drawn up for the initial expansion. The Villages Nature concept feels novel enough to be excited for whatever may come next.
Sustainability at its core
Everything at Villages Nature has been designed to be sustainable. This begins at electric vehicles being used by the on-site teams (including resort bus service) right down to the lack of air conditioning in the rooms – something that management says does not shock guests used to Center Parcs, as no rooms in these resorts come with air conditioning.
The pools are heated by geothermal energy (designed to be a 30 degrees Celsius year round), these are connected to an external loop which sends water up to Disneyland Paris. In turn, Disneyland Paris sends back heat. The partnership between Villages Nature and Disneyland Paris working in perfect partnership reducing the emissions of both – something that we can only celebrate.
Getting to Villages Nature
Villages Nature is located 8km away from Disneyland Paris and is easily drivable across the new A4 Autoroute road bridge (the entrance is right next door to Disney’s Davy Crockett Ranch).
A public bus will take you to the resort from Disneyland Paris, trips cost €2 each way. Once at the resort, there is a resort bus service (free of charge) to help you get around quickly – each vehicle is an electric bus designed to minimise the resort’s carbon emissions.
If you just want to try out the park, a day pass is on sale for €40/50 (depending on season). This will include all activities that are included in holiday packages with meals and more activities at an additional charge.
Villages Nature changes with the season. It is a resort that does not feel artificial, it doesn’t hide that trees die in the winter, or that flowers are less likely to bloom. It seeks to educate through natural entertainment. From my day at the resort, I think it is clear to me that it achieves this goal pretty well.
This new type of resort does not replace a Disney Hotel – indeed, if you are using this as your base for a ‘Disney Trip’, you may very well be disappointed, but there is enough to do here for a few days and it feels like they’re only just beginning to hit their stride. There was a special feeling around visiting the resort. It’s somewhere I recommend visiting, particular in the summer months. I’m looking forward to seeing the resort grow.
I’d like to thank our guide Olivier (Directeur Opérations) for his enthusiasm of the resort, its sustainable goals and Disney.