Bioregional helps celebrate Villages Nature Paris launch

One of the world’s biggest and boldest sustainable tourism projects has officially opened. Bioregional’s One Planet Living framework has played a leading role in enabling Villages Nature Paris to achieve its high ambitions for being in harmony with nature and the planet.

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illages Nature Paris offers a complete change of scene to help guests reconnect with the things that truly matter. Visitors will feel in harmony with nature in this extraordinary green village with its cottages and apartments by the lakeside or deep in the forest.

Comprising five immersive ‘worlds’, Villages Nature Paris is the result of a collaboration between Euro Disney SCA and the Pierre et Vacances Center Parcs Group and proposes a new way of approaching a holiday. Here, the extraordinary is all around; nature and architecture merge together to form a unique world. This is a location designed to bring discoveries and sensations to fill holidays with new experiences.

Sustainable ambitions

Bioregional first became involved with this family-oriented resort, sited three miles from Disneyland Paris, back in 2005 during the early planning stages. It has supported it ever since, regularly surveying its progress against the challenging targets set out in Villages Nature Paris’ own One Planet Action Plan.

Bioregional will continue to monitor the sustainability of the resort now that it has opened to the public, with plans to eventually attract more than a million visitors a year.

The project now offers 868 cottages and apartments set in a car-free landscape of lakes, woodlands, meadows and gardens 20 miles from the heart of the French capital.

Bioregional’s Chief Executive and Co-Founder, Sue Riddlestone OBE, said: “Tourism is a major global industry with massive environmental impacts. But Villages Nature Paris is setting new standards and demonstrating how this fast-growing industry can be a force for good, reconnecting people to nature, radically reducing environmental impacts and strongly supporting the local economy.”

Fact File

Other sustainable features of this project include:

• Major works to create habitat and enhance biodiversity on site – planting 28,800 trees and 430,000 other plants including 2.5 miles of lake banks planted with natural vegetation.
Many of the buildings have extensive green walls and roofs.
• Less than 10% of the entire 259 ha area, formerly low-biodiversity, intensively cultivated farmland, is being been built on
• More than 600 jobs created including 75% from Seine et Marne, plus a further 1600 jobs supported in the local area
• Extensive use of timber, a carbon-storing material, in the visitor accommodation and the Aqualagon, with all of the timber used in construction coming from certified managed forests in Europe. The Aqualagon also used low-carbon concrete.
• Villages Nature Paris has a frequent bus service to the nearby Marne-la-Vallée railway station, served by high-speed trains across France and beyond, and by Paris’ own RER suburban network. So visitors can easily travel from hundreds of miles away by public transport, and also use it to visit the French capital. The resort has plans for a large share of its visitors to travel without using their cars.
• Construction of a further 215 homes will begin soon and, eventually, the project could expand to provide 2450 homes.

Bioregional Co-Founder Pooran Desai OBE, who has worked with the Villages Nature Paris team for 12 years, said: “The Villages Nature team were inspired by the clarity of the One Planet Living vision. To their credit, they had the foresight to predict the importance of the environmental agenda and have stuck with the original vision. The result is a pure joy. It will be a gamechanger.”

Marie Balmain, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility at Groupe Pierre & Vacances Center Parcs, said: “Since the inception of the project, Bioregional’s One Planet Living framework has helped us consider not only environmental performance but also all the economic and social benefits Villages Nature Paris can bring to local communities and its stakeholders. Now that we’ve opened our doors, we continue to strive to deliver an inspiring visitor experience that creates a positive vision of the future. Our Sustainable Action Plan is now being taken on board by our operations team.”

Resource efficient

The One Planet Framework, based on 10 easy-to-grasp One Planet Principles, has been used in projects large and small all over the world, from individual homes and small organisations to major retailers such as B&Q and giant infrastructure projects. It provides a simple way to plan, deliver and communicate sustainable development so that projects and organisations support local communities and promote healthy, happy lives while respecting the planet’s natural limits. At the heart of Villages Nature Paris is a gigantic swimming and water play complex, the Aqualagon – one of Europe’s largest water parks – with water indoors and outdoors heated year-round to 30°C by a carbon-free, geothermal heat source. This source, more than one mile deep, provides the heating and hot water for the entire project.

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