Multi-generational holidays are becoming more popular year on year but finding a venue that will please a wide range of ages can be challenging. Recently I came across a great option just across the Channel.
Our family consists of 60 something grandparents, 30 something daughters with partners and grandchildren currently 13 and 10 and growing fast. We love to spend time together but have to choose wisely so that all needs are catered for.
I was invited to check out the sparkling new Les Villages Nature® Paris and did so with an eventual family gathering in mind.
My journey started from London St Pancras on the delightfully relaxing Eurostar where I travelled in Standard Premier Class and enjoyed a complimentary coffee, croissant and orange juice in air-conditioned comfort.
After a hectic, but enjoyable, day in Paris (more of which in a later feature) I took a taxi transfer to the park, due to French rail strikes. The park is situated just 32 kms outside the city and close to Euro Disney. It is possible to travel to Villages Nature® Paris by road or rail, although if I return our family would probably drive via the Eurotunnel.
As you turn off the busy motorway suddenly you find yourself in the midst of beautiful and peaceful countryside and it is hard to believe the bustle of the city, and the excitement of Euro Disney, are so close.
This new and innovative park opened in September 2017 and is an amazing project based on eco-tourism and sustainability. The Villages Nature® Paris project was conceived and designed by two leaders in the tourist industry, Euro Disney S.C.A. and Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs. The complementary expertise contributed by both parties has underpinned the partnership since the start of the project. Villages Nature® Paris makes an ideal base for multi-generational families as it offers stylish self-catering accommodation, a selection of individual restaurants, shops and activities.
The park has been designed around a huge lake which is overlooked by an architectural masterpiece of stone and glass which is the famous Aqualagon. Whatever the weather this is the place that will delight all the family. The pools, both inside and out, are naturally heated to a comfy 30degrees. There are aqua fitness classes to join, scary flumes and tubes to slide down (not for me!) or granny can just float around on the ‘lazy river’. Sunbeds are dotted around on immaculate terraces all with great views. Maybe Mum and Granny deserve some spa action, and the Deep Nature Spa offers some signature treatments as well as steam room and sauna.
Although Les Villages Nature® Paris is a car-free holiday village, those arriving by road can park for free near to their accommodation. I can recommend picking up a bike for the duration of your stay as the miles of cycle paths can take you around the whole complex. There are bikes of all sizes for all ages; I particularly enjoyed peaceful early morning bike rides around the village.
The purpose built fully functioning BelleVie farm is a draw for younger children with the chance to help look after the animals, take a pony ride or learn skills such as breadmaking or honey production. Complete your day with a freshly produced lunch at The Tea Saloon which features locally produced goodies.
Older children will enjoy living out fantasies and adventures on the zip lines and monkey bridges that criss cross the ‘Forest of Legends’. Creative workshops teach the finer points of den building, always a favourite with youngsters.
Despite all the activities there is plenty of space to get away from it all and lap up the peace and tranquillity of the very beautiful ‘extraordinary gardens’. Here you will find sheltered paths meandering through delightful and thoughtful planting with water features and ‘secret’ seating areas tucked away.
The brightly decorated accommodations range in size to suit groups up to 12 and all have fully functioning kitchens and outdoor space. The onsite supermarket offers a wide range of supplies including healthy option salad bar and ready meals. I found prices to be fairly average both in the supermarket and restaurants. There is a popular Italian pizza and pasta restaurant, ‘Valpiano’, and the innovative French cafe ‘Pure etc.’ specialising in healthy seasonal fast food. The onsite bakery and patisserie opens early for freshly cooked morning baguettes and croissant and is always busy. The range of eateries and availability of fresh food gives families the chance to mix self-catering with eating out therefore pleasing everyone.
After my quick visit I felt the park offered just the place for all the family to spend time together, near to Euro Disney and Paris. Ease of transport makes it ideal for a short break, or a longer holiday at any time of year, or as a place to call into when travelling through France.
For more information, or to make a reservation, please visit www.villagesnatureparis.co.uk or telephone 0845 351 0820.
A four-night mid-week stay in a Country Premium apartment that sleeps up to four people is priced from €317/£280. All accommodation features free Wi-Fi, fully-equipped kitchens with dishwashers, furnished terraces or balconies and flat-screen TVs. Baby beds and high chairs are available in all cottages and upon request in apartments. (Based on 2018 prices)
Travel via Eurostar
Eurostar operates a daily direct service in each direction to Disneyland Paris/Marne-La-Vallée (daily direct services to the resort do not operate on Tuesdays and Saturdays except during school holidays)
Fares direct to Disneyland Paris/Marne-La-Vallée 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. (2018 prices)
Tickets are available from www.eurostar.com or from Eurostar’s contact centre on 03432 186 186