Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances to Open an Eco Travel Resort in Paris

Les Villages Nature will be an eco travel playground, south of Paris Disneyland (pictured), and just north of the Brie Forest. Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances have teamed up to give the city some "man-made" nature downtown, because there isn't enough real nature to play in. The partners promise the parks will be eco-friendly, sustainable, and all those other buzz words. On November 24, 2010, the eco travel project was formally presented. However, the plan, which has been underway since 2003, is still tentative, and will depend on market conditions. The first part (175 hectares) could open as early as 2015, though the entire project  (500 hectares) involves a 20-year timeframe. 90% of the area will be "natural", but around 5,000 apartments and homes and 130,000 sq.m of leisure facilities will be added. Les Villages Natures will be composed of four different villages with different themes. The "water" village will have a giant geothermic lagoon, which will be the focal point of the resort. It will be the largest water park in Europe. The "forest" village will be an extension of the camping area of Disney's Ranch Davy Crockett. The "earth" village will offer a taste of farm life. The fourth eco travel village will focus on sports and health, and offer, well, sports, and healthy advice. What will people actually do at Les Villages Nature? The kind of things that people used to do outside: bike, take a boat out, ride horses, visit an organic farm, and walk around. Les Villages Nature calls itself a "pioneering ecotourism concept" which focuses on the "harmony between man and nature".  As such, the creators of Villages Nature are keen on emphasizing (and using) sustainable materials, transportation, food, and geothermal heating (from under the project site). The 78°C water, which comes from 1,800 meters underground, will be used for heating before it is returned to the ground. To achieve sustainability,  the partners intend to use "One Planet Living" methodology developed by BioRegional and WWF International. Their 10 principals include zero carbon, zero waste, sustainable travel, local and sustainable materials, local and sustainable food, sustainable water, natural habitats and wildlife,  culture and heritage, equity and fair trade, health and happiness. Les Villages Nature isn't preserving nature in a traditional way, but it might be more eco-friendly than, say, your average golf course. Certainly, it's greener than a new Disneyland. It might be nice if the partners would  start by greening up the current amusement parks and, well, saving the rainforest, etc, etc, but at least Les Villages Nature offers families an eco education in the outdoors. In any case: eco travel must be getting trendy if it might be taking over the traditional amusement park. Out with the roller coasters, in with the trees. photo credit: Ellywa Waterman