The word ‘Zoo’ has some very negative associations and so I try to avoid using the description to our guests before I have described what a fantastic place this is to visit when staying at
our family holiday cottages and stick with the ‘animal park’ which doesn’t sound so controversial.
Every year, millions of people visit zoos around the world, some are amazing others should be closed immediately; La Palmyre is one of the former. They have assumed an active role in the protection of rare species threatened with extinction and are a ‘centre of education and environmental consciousness-raising’
La Palmyre are a member of the European Endangered Species Program, where global coordinators are given responsibility for different endangered species. Their goal is to optimize a species’ ‘reproductive conditions by setting up groups and avoiding any
inbreeding. This may involve sending a particular animal to another zoo, so a primate born at La Palmyre might end up starting a family in Tokyo.’
La Palmyre Zoo is also a founder member of CEPA (Conservation of Animal Species and Populations), which was founded in 1997 to focus on species that are both seriously endangered and generally neglected because little known, such as the Amur leopard or Tahiti monarch. There is particular emphasis on the wild animals of France’s overseas departments. Further information on their missions can be found on their site here
Everyone who visits the La Palmyre zoo always returns with glowing reports, most saying it is the best zoo they have ever visited and we agree.We ourselves go every year, our boys never tire of running around the shady paths getting really close to so many animals, having the huge wet tongue of a giraffe lick over your hand to eat popcorn (provided by the zoo) and goats run around you feet and nudge your bottom to get the last crumbs from your pockets left by the giraffes. Its a full day out and in peak season we recommend leaving early to get there as the gates open, to avoid the crowds. It does get unbearably busy later on, so its best to keep ahead of the crowds by starting early (I’m talking about an 8am start from your gite) In May, June and September this isn’t such an issue as the French children are still at school – just avoid weekends and Wednesdays when the school children are off at any time of year. Its a great place to be with toddlers when its quieter as they can run around freely, chasing peacocks and shouting out all the animals names as they see them.
There are a few ‘snack bars’ but we recommend taking a few sandwiches and sitting on one of the many benches under the shade of the huge pine trees for a leisurely picnic or if you have really little ones who arn’t worried about reading every bit of info about each
animal, then you could be out by lunchtime and have a meal in nearby La Palmyre town.
Toilets are dotted regularly along the trail but be warned, many of the smaller blocks are still the old fashioned hole in the ground – doesn’t bother my boys but my nieces arn’t so keen to use them ! There are baby changing facilities too.
All in all a fantastic day out for all the family and in our top ten sites to visit when staying at La Grange du Moulin or Les Vallaies family holiday cottages.
content by Wendy Blakeman