Villages Nature Paris – Review
Villages Nature as a hotel option for a Disneyland Paris trip never really appealed to me. As a regular visitor to DLP, I’m very comfortable, staying onsite, with the parks in walking distance, and knowing exactly what I have got for my money. However, an opportunity arose for me to visit Villages Nature, to which I gratefully accepted.
Firstly a little bit of background. Villages Nature is a collaboration between both Euro Disney and Center Parcs which is focused on a resort with environmental sustainability and ecotourism. The site is just 3 miles from Disneyland Paris, and provides a shuttle which takes no more than 10 minutes to get to the parks. Villages Nature is set out in to 5 ‘worlds’ designed to immerse guests into an environmentally friendly destination, which we will go into more detail during this article.
As a previous visitor to Center Parc’s resorts in Europe, I was excited to see the resort. For those of you who have never visited a Center Parc’s, these are resorts which are set away within nature (usually a forest of some sort) in Europe, where the accommodation is usually a mixture of Lodges or Cabins with different levels of comfort. For example the top end accommodation may be a multi storey lodge with Sauna and Hot Tub accompaniments, whereas a lower end would get you a basic lodge/cabin with all the necessary amenities set in luscious woodland. Villages Nature continued this trend, however as the resort is new, and not built within a large woodland area, it will take time for the hundreds (literally!) of trees to fully grow to make this resort similar to its Center Parcs counterparts.
For anyone who has visited Walt Disney World and used their Magic Band system, this will all seem very similar. Upon arrival each member of your party is given a band to attach to your wrist. The band has a large face which is RFID enabled to unlock your hotel room and access other areas of the resort such as Aqualagon (The onsite water-park). This was brilliant and completely unexpected to me. This allows you to not worry about keys, or tickets or passes, and gives you easy access everywhere without even noticing the band on your wrist.
For this trip we stayed within a ‘Clan Comfort Cottage’. This is value accommodation at the resort, which can sleep 4-6 people depending on your travelling party. The other options (in ascending order in relation to price) are Country Premium Apartments, Country Premium Cottages, Cocoon VIP Apartments and Cocoon VIP Cottages. As we stayed within the CCC we will be basing our review upon our experience and the value for money.
Arriving at 2:00pm we found our room was already available for us to enter despite the standard 3pm check in time. The design was very chique, and was very similar to our previous Center Parcs visits, with a wooden décor in terms of the decking and the cottages appearance. From the outside the cottage appeared to be quite small, but upon entering you realise that is not the case. This was a cottage which slept 4 people, and contained one large bedroom with a double bed, and another room with twin beds, and a cot provided for any infants who may be accompanying you.
The cottage had two bathrooms, one with a shower, sink and toilet facilities, the other with a sink and shower/bath facility. Both had a very colourful and bright design, and the facilities all worked perfectly without any issues. The kitchen and lounge were designed open plan. The area was really open and consisted of a large corner sofa with multiple pillows, a flat screen TV, a fridge/freezer, dishwasher, oven, sink and table and chairs. The design of this room was very smart and again all the appliances worked effortlessly.
My favourite part of the cottage however was the outdoor decking area. Again this area had a table and chairs so you could dine outside, whilst it also offered 2 sun loungers if you just wanted to chill out in the sun. This area was very secluded, and the only noise you can hear are natural sounds of wildlife or the trees blowing in the wind, so relaxing. Overall I thought the Clan Comfort Cottage, was great value for money. My only gripe was that it was not air conditioned, and we happened to visit during 30 degree heat, so had a couple of warm nights. But for a value accommodation for four people, this offered great value for money.
Promenade du Lac
The area we spent most of our time during our trip to Villages Natures was ‘Promenade du Lac’ and the Aqualagon. The promenade consists of a variety of buildings that wind themselves around the large lake in Villages Natures (hence the name). This area also houses some of the premium apartments on site.
Within these buildings there are a variety of things. First off there is a Welcome House, which acts as an information Centre throughout your stay. The WH was very spacious, contained helpful staff who spoke multiple languages, whilst also held lots of flyers and leaflets for things to do both within VNP and outside the resort.
Further along you will find ‘Franprix’, which is the onsite supermarket. This supermarket contained a large range of products at very competitive prices. We found ourselves having a couple of lunches/dinners from here, as they had a great selection of food to cook up, deli offerings and also a hot station. The best part was the self-serve salad bar – almost like a pic and mix for salad lovers!
Further along you have an onsite shop containing various souvenirs to remind you of your stay at VNP, and also an onsite estate agent, as VNP offer apartments to purchase on site.
All the restaurants were also found on Promenade du Lac. Of the 3 current offerings we only attended 1, which was Vapianos. Most of you will know Vapianos well as it’s a large chain, but for those who have never been, we would highly recommend it. We both had pizza’s which were freshly made, and were excellent quality at a very reasonable price. The other offerings on site were slightly more restricted menu’s, but looked definitely worth a try.
Our favourite offering on site for food was Chez Meunier Bakery. They offered an enormous array of sweet goods, from croissants to fruit tarts to eclairs, all fresh and all home-made. However the lunch options were also fantastic, with large home-made quiches, filled wraps/baguettes, croque monsieurs, hot dogs and more. There is also a crepe station where they are made to order with either sweet or savoury ingredients. Again these were very reasonably priced, but the best thing about it was how fresh everything was.
For entertainment, there was a bowling alley (which we did try, and I boast a tidy 167 score!) which also had an adjacent bar area which at the time we were there was hosting quizzes and karaoke on different nights. There is also an escape room experience for an extra charge if you’re into that kind of thing. Apart from a small swimming shop on the end of the promenade there is still a lot of building space to improve and add too. For me I suggest another restaurant with a big variety like Vapiano’s and perhaps another lunchtime alternative to Franprix of CM Bakery.
As a big fan of waterparks, and with the weather being very hot, I was most excited about trying out Aqualagon. Despite minimal hours sleep and it being late afternoon on our first travel day, I managed to persuade our party to go for a ‘dip’!
Not expecting the brilliance of Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach thematically, I went into Aqualagon with an opened mind, hoping for a mixture of good slides and large swimming areas, similar to Center Parc’s resorts across Europe. It is safe to say I was not disappointed.
In terms of slides, Aqualagon has a huge variety for all ages. There are 3 areas of kids in particular, including smaller slides, water guns and customary large buckets that fill up before pouring all over your kids, much to their amusement. Unfortunately I was too big for the apparatus, much to my disappointed, so I did not get to try it out! However I did try the more adult offerings, to which I’m happy to say were very thrilling.
Aqualagon had around 6 different slides for slightly larger guests (although I would say ages 8+ would be able to ride most of them too). There was a mixture of tube slides (where you sit in rubber rings) and also body slides. The tube slides were excellent, and you can go down in a 1 or 2 person ring. I don’t want to give too much away, but what I will say is we had a big surprise going down one of them, which had us all laughing, and was great fun. Of the body slides there were two, within the inside portion of Aqualagon, with a smaller slide within the lazy river in the outside area. The inside slides consisted of a medium thrill body slide which is fairly tame, and a much more thrilling slide.
This slide is not for the faint hearted. It requires you to step into a see through tube as the door is closed behind you. You then press a green button while inside (still stood upright) which will start a countdown from 3. 3…2…1… then there is slight pause, before the floor below you suddenly drops to send you shooting down the slide! Hold your nose, otherwise you may get a lot of water in there, as I discovered!
There is also a decent size wave pool, and 3 large Jacuzzi’s to chill out inside, as well as a small café which offers healthy/organic options for lunch. The outside pool area was arguably my favourite. The pool is set right next to the lake for spectacular views, and houses a large lazy river attraction which is great to chill out in, whilst also has a large area for swimming around, with massage cannons, and underwater cannons to create lots of bubbles, which is all good fun.
We actually spent almost a whole day of our trip in Aqualagon as we found it so relaxing, and also the massage cannons helped a lot after a long day at DLP! All in all, I would highly recommend it to anyone who loves waterparks/swimming or just likes getting wet!
Other than Aqualagon, you also have Farme BelleVue which is an onsite farm which hosts a range of classes for kids and adults involving the animals they have onsite, amongst other things. In fact we ever saw a butterfly catching tour walking around the resort, so there are offerings depending on what floats your boat! Speaking of floating boats, the Lake area offers a range of water based vehicles, from Kayaks to mini cruise liners (for up to 4 people) and larger boats for any budding Jack Sparrow’s out there. There is also a Forest area which is lovely area to go for a walk, with or without children as there are large play areas within the forest, also this is good place to take a Segway tour around the resort (for an extra charge).
All of the areas mentioned in this article are all within walking distance, however there is a free shuttle which circles the resort every 15 minutes which you can hop on and off as you please. There is also a Bike House, which offers bikes to rent for your stay and also golf buggies if they take your fancy.
In terms of getting to Disney, it’s the same distance as Davy Crockett Ranch. There is an onsite shuttle, which would get you to the parks in 10 or so minutes. We ended up driving when we went to the parks, which we found easy to get to, and find on our way home at night.
Overall I would highly recommend a stay at Villages Nature for an alternative Disney holiday. It allows you to enjoy the parks whilst having a chance to slow down and relax so your body isn’t completely shattered when you return home after your trip. We will definitely be returning, hopefully to see some more food offerings, that it has been maintained well, and heck throw in another super slide just to make me even happier!