I went to European holiday park near Disneyland Paris – it has attraction kids will love and you can get there by train
We lost grandpa! He was last seen riding a bike with a four-year-old in a child carrier strapped to his back.
It was only 8pm but it was quite dark and Les Villages Nature Paris likes to keep the lights on bike lanes low to save energy.
Me and the rest of the family had cycled back to our holiday home at the holiday park after a delicious Italian meal, not realizing that we had left the latecomer behind.
Time to turn back and I found him at an intersection, unsure which way to go because he couldn’t read the house number sign.
This great Center Parcs, 25 miles outside of Paris, has more bikes than the Tour de France and it’s not only the best way to get around, it’s great fun and environmentally friendly.
And it fits the park’s ethos of bringing us all back closer to nature – forests, meadows, lakes and gardens.
We rented two bikes and child trailers so we could transport all three grandchildren. All winding bike paths lead to a treasure trove of attractions, playgrounds, restaurants and the third largest indoor water park in Europe.
Our family of three generations could have spent all day at the amazing Aqualagon – one of the park’s free activities.
The airy glass structure features hanging gardens and you can stroll across outdoor terraces to reach the top, which is 115 feet above the ground.
Inside, it’s a maze of pools, slides, chutes, fountains and tunnels, leading to a huge outdoor lagoon and lazy river whose waters are geothermally heated to a balmy 30°C, just how I like it.
With the children Albie and the six and four-year-old Mila, we rode an electric boat across one of the lakes and took turns steering, only just missing swans and ducks.
Fortunately, we managed to keep her 16-month-old sibling, Lois, off the wheel.
The kids spent hours at BelleVie Farm feeding the cows and goats and romping around the amazing indoor playground Lait’s Play, a maze of wooden structures with tunnels, bridges, trampolines and slides.
My grandchildren’s energy seemed endless and they were at the resort non-stop for three days.
We played mini-golf and then headed to the nearby Forest of Legends, which Albie said was “breathtaking” — hideouts, hanging bridges, jungle gyms, and a zipline between the trees.
Then it was time for a hard fought bowling session before pasta and pizza and a large glass of wine were served at Vapiano.
Pony rides, laser battles, mini jeeps and chocolate courses are other activities available from around £15, while adults can take a breather by sending their kids to clubs and heading to the spa for a massage from £13 per session.
The park is only 20 minutes by bus from Disneyland Paris and Marne-la-Vallée Chessy train station, with direct Eurostar service from London St Pancras.
Families traveling by car can park close to their accommodation – wooden cabins for four to twelve people, with every comfort and a private terrace.
The on-site Franprix supermarket at no extra charge is surprisingly well stocked and has dedicated counters stocking delicious French cheeses, charcuterie, and wine.
There is even a microwave so you can buy a dish, heat it up and eat it inside and outside on the tables and chairs.
There is no need to cook at all. Eat at a selection of restaurants on Lakeside Promenade serving crepes, pastries and burgers, or grab something to go.
To be completely relaxed, you can have your breakfast of croissants, pains au chocolat and freshly squeezed orange juice delivered to your holiday home.
It’s a bonus that Les Villages Nature is so close to Disneyland Paris, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with special shows, parties and the new land of superheroes, the Marvel Avengers Campus.
But you don’t have to leave the nature of Les Villages – there is so much wonderful magic here.
GET THERE: Return Eurostar tickets from London St Pancras to Marne-la-Vallée Chessy cost from £78 per adult and £56 per child.
See eurostar.com. A vehicle and up to nine passengers on Le Shuttle costs from £83 each way. See eurotunnel.com.
STAY THERE: Four nights self-catering in a two-bedroom cottage over the school summer holidays will cost this year from £1,337 in total, based on quadruple occupancy. lesvillagesnature.com/gb-en.