Points of interest

The top 3 French zoos

Visiting the zoo is a great day out with the kids, and France has plenty to offer.

As a parent, I understand the importance of finding lots of fun activities to do with your kids whilst you're on holiday. It's a great way to spend time together, as well as getting your kids outdoors and involved in new experiences. One of my family's top activities for a day out together is a trip to the zoo, and with our French heritage, we thought we'd try out some new zoos on our next holiday to France.

The quickest, most convenient way for you and your family to cross the Channel is with LeShuttle. It takes just 35 minutes, and you can take as much luggage as you like with you! Plus, it also gives you the added benefit of having a car to explore France at your leisure. To get you inspired for your next family holiday, here are my top 3 zoos in France to visit with your kids.

La Palmyre Zoo

La Palmyre Zoo is nestled in the middle of a huge pine forest, just off the Atlantic coast of France in the Charente-Maritime region, which is a 7 and a half hour drive from Calais. Founded in 1966 by Claude Caillé, La Palmyre Zoo has since become one of France's best-loved zoos attracting around 700,000 visitors every year. The zoo is home to over 1,600 animals, which includes 115 different species of mammals, birds and reptiles. At La Palmyre, you can see all of your favourite animals: from the big cats, including lions, tigers and cheetahs, to exotic reptiles such as snakes and lizards. Also, look out for the flocks of colourful flamingos and parrots, as well as monkeys and lemurs swinging through the trees.

La Palmyre Zoo is home to lions amongst many other species
La Palmyre Zoo is home to lions amongst many other species

As well as being a fun day out for all the family, La Palmyre Zoo is also important for its conservation work of endangered species. The zoo registers 200-300 births every year due to its successful breeding programs.

Zoo Parc de Beauval

The Zoo Parc de Beauval is located in the heart of France, about 5 hours' drive from Calais, and houses one of the most extensive collections of animals in the country. There are 5,700 animals, from 600 different species, making this the largest collection of creatures great and small for you and the kids to discover.

Voted in the top 15 most beautiful zoos in the world, a day out at Zoo Parc de Beauval is guaranteed to impress. Last year saw 900,000 people visit the park, with the resident panda family being a major attraction, as well as everyone's favourite penguins!

Visit the pandas at Zoo Parc de Beauval
Visit the pandas at Zoo Parc de Beauval

Zoo d'Amnéville

An easy 4 hour drive from the LeShuttle terminal in Calais, you will find Zoo d'Amnéville located not far from the French border with Luxembourg and Germany. The zoo sprawls over 17 acres and is home to 2,000 animals from 360 species, found over 5 continents around the world.

Check out the falconry show at Zoo d’Amnéville
Check out the falconry show at Zoo d’Amnéville

Smaller than the other two zoos I've mentioned, but no less appealing, Zoo d'Amnéville attracts around 600,000 visitors each year. One of the main events at the zoo that pulls in the crowds is the impressive raptor display on horseback, presented by master falconer Bernard Bailly and his team.

You and the kids can also meet Pablo and Watson, the resident sea lions, at the daily shows held at the zoo. Watch as they perform tricks and incredible stunts, working with their trainers in seamless unison – sure to be a hit for the whole family!

Getting There

To really make the most of your time in France, the best way to see the country is by car as it gives you so much freedom to do what you want. Also, when you're travelling as a family, it eliminates the pressures of baggage restrictions!

With LeShuttle, it takes just 35 minutes to get from Folkestone to Calais, which is much faster than any other cross-Channel route. And once you've arrived at our Calais terminal, all that's left to do is hit the open road! Calais is directly connected to several major road networks, which means you can be on your way to your holiday destination in no time. Bon voyage!