French Prime Minister breaks ground on Euro Disney's 'organic city' resort

by Alice Davis | 12 Dec 2014

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday afternoon (11 December) attended the breaking ground ceremony for the €700m (US$871m, £554m) Villages Nature, a joint venture between Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs Group.

“This tourist destination will develop the local economy and create jobs,” Valls told the audience, including Attractions Management at a ceremony held near the site, about 30km (19m) from Paris and 6km (3.7m) from Disneyland Paris. “Tourists from France, Europe and other continents will come here. From Villages Nature, people can visit Paris, Versaille, the Louvre, Disneyland Paris and further afield.”

The first stage of the Villages Nature eco-destination, costing about €500m (US$622m, £396m), is scheduled to open in summer 2016, with 916 cottages and apartments and 75 per cent of the recreational facilities completed.

A star-studded cast of architects have been invited to participate in designing the innovative "organic city", inspired by the green approaches to architecture pioneered by Frank Lloyd Wright and F. Hundertwasser. Leading French landscape architect Thierry Huau is designing the grounds, less than 10 per cent of which will be buildings. Joe Rohde of Walt Disney Imagineering is also overseeing the artistic direction of Villages Nature.

Rendering of the AquaLagoon. Photo courtesy Jacques Ferrier Architectures

The star attraction for Villages Nature will be the 9,000sqm (96,875sq ft) AquaLagoon. Designed by French architect Jacques Ferrier, its tiered pyramid structure – inspired by the site's natural geothermal aquifer – will house one of the largest indoor waterparks in Europe. Wave pools, water slides and an active river will feature alongside an open-air geothermal lagoon. Other attractions include an interactive farm, hanging gardens and adventure play areas.

“The Hanging Gardens and the AquaLagoon are going to be incredible pieces of architecture in their own right,” Villages Nature CEO Dominique Cocquet told Attractions Management. “The project is a huge investment by Euro Disney, Pierre Vacances and others who have invested in the facilities and accommodations, so we are making every possible effort to make the promise a reality.”

Ariel view of Villages Nature site in May 2014. Photo courtesy L’Europe vue du ciel

Phase one continues with a further 241 cottages scheduled to be on site by 2018. Conditional plans are in place to then expand Villages Nature by a further 573 accommodations, bringing the total on the 180 hectare (450 acre) site to 1,730. In fulfilling these aims, by 2022 Villages Nature estimates a visitor turnaround of 900,000 per year, generating tax incomes of €7m (US$8.7m, £5.5m) annually.

Villages Nature will operate a leaseback model for investors. Prices start at €230,000 (US$286,000, £182,000) for a one-bedroom apartment.

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French Prime Minister Manuel Valls yesterday afternoon (11 December) attended the breaking ground ceremony for the €700m (US$871m, £554m) Villages Nature, a joint venture between Euro Disney and Pierre & Vacances-Center Parcs Group. “This tourist destination will develop the local economy and create jobs,” Valls told the audience, including Attractions Management at a ceremony held near the site, about 30km (19m) from Paris and 6km (3.7m) from Disneyland Paris. “Tourists
Water and heating in the accommadation will be powered by geothermal energy / T. Huau/Interscène; Jean de Gastines Architectes; Kreaction
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