As a family, we love visiting Center Parcs. Our first holiday as a family as a four was to Elveden Forest Center Parcs. We have enjoyed quite a few breaks there now including Christmas Winter Wonderland breaks. We also recently got the chance to experience a stay at Woburn Forest. I have been researching the European Center Parcs. Villages Nature Paris is so close to Disneyland Paris that it has been on our travel bucket list for a while. Visiting Disneyland Paris in the summer holidays allowed us to extend our time in France. We added a weekend stay at Villages Nature Paris to the end of our holiday.
What Did We Love About Villages Nature Paris?
Staying at Villages Nature Paris is a different experience than staying in a UK Center Parcs. Firstly the location is very different, it isn’t a forest stay. Villages Nature Paris is a very large site full of areas of water, fields, a man-made beach area and a forest area. It is beautiful and the children did love the different feel of the site.
Swimming at the Aqualagon
Center Parcs holidays are all about swimming and the Villages Nature Paris Aqualagon does not disappoint. I would say it was the biggest swimming area we have visited during our Center Parcs stays. The Aqualagon does close earlier than its UK counterparts. We had got into a routine during our Center Parcs visits where we visit the swimming pool later in the evening when it is normally quieter. I think the Aqualagon closed at 8 pm during our August 2022 visit. So we visited on the Saturday and Sunday of our stay at 2 pm. It was busy but manageable and as busy as I would expect it to be in the school summer holidays.
The Aqualagon is amazing, and even has an outside pool area which I assume is only open in the warmer months. There are slides, a wave pool and a children’s splash area to name just a few areas. We easily spent over two hours at the Aqualagon on each visit. We didn’t test out the slides as we stuck to the outside pool and the children’s splash area. This was where the children wanted to be and we let them be in control. There were families in the Aqualagon that had set up for the day. This is easily done as there is somewhere to eat and enough sun loungers to use.
Visiting Ferme Bellevie
Villages Nature Paris is home to Ferme Bellevie. This onsite farm is free to visit during your stay. There are so many bookable activities that take place at the farm. These activities cost extra just like they do in a UK Center Parcs. We booked Pony rides for the children. I know that Little E would have loved to take part in every activity that is available there. We did visit the animals on the farm which both children really enjoyed.
Enjoying the Playgrounds in La Foret Des Legendes
We took the time to make sure we visited the forest of legends during our weekend break. The children do love playgrounds and this one was huge. It is set on the edge of the forest so it was a perfect place to play in the hot weather.
The climbing frames had lots to keep the children busy and they went quite high. The slides were also highly positioned in the frames which the children loved.
Activities That The Children Could Do Together
As Ethan got older we found it hard to find activities that the children can do together at the UK Center Parcs. We have found that the activities that Ethan loves, the pony rides and going to the children’s club have an upper age limit of seven. What we noticed in the European Center Parcs is that the upper age limit for activities like these is actually 14. Meaning that Ethan could join his sister.
We were able to book them both in for a pony ride at the Bellevie Farm which both children loved. We also booked them in to drive the Mini Jeeps. This is something Ethan has always wanted to do so I was glad he could experience it here. Little E has been lucky enough to experience it at Elveden Forest as a toddler and more recently at Woburn Forest.
Being Able To Hire A Golf Buggy
We first hired bikes during a Center Parcs stay earlier this year at Woburn Forest. It was the first time we have been able to do this as the children learned to ride their bikes during the lockdown. Knowing how big Villages Nature Paris I knew we would have to look into hiring bikes whilst there. During the booking process, there was the option to book a golf buggy. I thought after our stay at Disneyland Paris the golf buggy would be the perfect option for us. It would give us the chance to rest our theme park tired legs.
Hiring the golf buggy was the best decision. Villages Nature Paris covers a large area and the golf buggy took us where we needed to go very easily. In the heat, it was a perfect choice. Hiring bikes would have been the cheaper option and we would probably do that if visiting Villages Nature Paris in colder months.
Visits From Wildlife Freinds
We have so many fond memories of visits from wildlife when we stay at Center Parcs. We always take birdseed and monkey nuts for our stays in the UK. I didn’t really think about what wildlife would be visiting us in Villages Nature Paris. Considering our lodge was on a lake we didn’t have any visiting ducks but one morning we were visited by swans. We love that they came to say hello but we did make sure we gave them space. They are very strong birds and can cause some harm if you aren’t careful.
What Accommodation Did We Stay In At Villages Nature Paris?
There are quite a few accommodation options when booking a Villages Nature Paris stay. You can book apartments or lodges. I have noticed that if you book a Villages Nature Paris stay via the Disneyland Paris website they offer you apartment accommodation. The apartments look like they are situated nearer the Lakeside Promenade. The Lakeside Promenade is where you will find the restaurants and shops. Possibly a good location if you are spending your days in the Disney Parks.
Our accommodation choice was a Premium Cottage. It was the perfect choice for the budget we had available. Its location was on the edge of the Villages Nature Paris site. If we had booked our stay earlier I would have picked a location closer to the Lakeside Promenade. But hiring a golf buggy meant that the location didn’t really matter that much.
What was great about the location of our accommodation was that our car parking was just next door. This is something that doesn’t happen in the UK Center Parcs. Being able to access your car so easily makes Villages Nature Paris a great base to explore the local area.
Where Did We Buy Our Food From At Villages Nature Paris?
Villages Nature Paris offers self-catering accommodation. The first thing we had to do when we arrived was a food shop. We did bring some items that Ethan has to have with us. Dry food that would last in the car for a few days. But we would need milk for our cereals and that much needed cup of tea.
Franprix is where we brought all of the food we needed during our stay. Of course, being in France there were different items available from what we were used to. But we ate well. The one thing I did want was a real French baguette but I couldn’t find one in the shop. I totally forgot that in France they have dedicated bakeries. Typically we found the Bakery on our last day!
Would We Visit Villages Nature Paris Again?
Yes, we would love to return. A weekend break only really gave us two full days to explore. We didn’t eat at any of the on-site restaurants as we were sticking to a budget. There are so many activities that I know Little E would love to try. Activities that aren’t available in the UK Center Parcs. We would love to stay for four nights if returning. Possibly coming back during the cooler months. We would also take advantage of the breakfast delivery. Fresh baguettes can be brought to the lodge every day. This was something I didn’t pre-book but I wouldn’t hesitate to now. We also want to explore the Aqualagon more. I really hope we can return to Villages Nature Paris again soon.