What to do at Parc Naturel de la Brenne

Parc Naturel de la Brenne is a peaceful, beautiful place to visit on a crisp, autumnal day.

An autumn walk through a beautiful park is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. Discover what you can see at Parc Naturel de la Brenne.

Park walks are an activity that can be enjoyed throughout the year. You can breathe in fresh air and become one with nature at any time you choose. But autumn in France is considered by many to be the most beautiful season of the year, with its golden leaves and haze of mist in the distance.

Where is Parc Naturel de la Brenne?

Parc Naturel is located in the centre of France, in the Rosnay region, about a six-hour drive from our Calais terminal. The drive will take you through some beautiful areas of France, such as Arras, Sologne and Chateauroux, so a great opportunity for a little French road trip.

The history of Parc Naturel de la Brenne

The park may be relatively new, having been created in late 1989, but its history actually goes all the way back to the middle ages. The area's lakes and ponds were used for fishing by the monks of the abbeys at nearby Fontgombault, St.-Cryon and Meobecq. The area has now been developed into a national park, protected by the government.

The area of a thousand lakes
With four thousand lakes and ponds, you’ll never be too far from the water
With four thousand lakes and ponds, you’ll never be too far from the water. Credit: Jean-David & Anne-Laure.

As the park was originally used for fishing purposes by the monks, there are a number of lakes and ponds for you to walk around. There is some dispute over how many lakes and ponds make up the landscape; the number is believed to be around 4,000, but we'll leave it to you to try and count them all when you visit!

The amount of water in the park means that there is a stunning range of wildlife that you can see. Birdwatchers flock here to see the 260 species of birds that have made the park their home.

The wildlife of Parc Naturel de la Brenne
Make sure you bring your binoculars to not miss the wildlife of the park.
Make sure you bring your binoculars to not miss the wildlife of the park. Credit: Daniel Jolivet.

In total (including the birds), there are 2,300 species of animals living in the park, including 27 protected species. The animals range from big to small, and everything in between. Otters and beavers splash about in the water, and 22 different species of bats fly through the night sky.

It's the larger animals that most visitors hope to catch a glimpse of. If you're lucky you could see animals such as deer and boars, or the sleek otters that swim in the lakes.

The birds are one of the main draws of the park, especially the ones who stay to breed, such as the Black Necked Grebe, Night Heron or the Western Marsh Harrier, you can also see rare breeds like the Eurasian Bittern.

Anyone who is a bit nervous of snakes may want to keep their eyes to the ground, as the Asp Viper, Grass Snake and Viperine Water Snake have all made the grassy ground their home.

The Flora and landscape of Parc Naturel de la Brenne
Water Lilies are floating on the lakes, turning the park into a scene from a magical fairy-tale
Water Lilies are floating on the lakes, turning the park into a scene from a magical fairy-tale.

Because of the large expanse of wetlands in the park, there is a huge amount of beautiful fauna making up the landscape. This includes floating lilies, like the False Water Lily, and Floating Water-Plantain.

As the park is so vast, there is a range of different landscapes, from the wetlands through to the meadows and the forests. Make sure you wear proper walking boots, or maybe even wellies, when you trek through Parc Naturel de la Brenne as you will likely get your feet pretty wet.

Exploring the park

There are plenty of ways to see the park, from hiking to cycling, but if you decide to cycle, make sure you stay on the designated paths. You can also go horse-riding, or if you don't think your legs can take all that exercise, there are also electric carts. 

Staying at Parc Naturel de la Brenne

After all that walking you'll be pleased to know that there are plenty of places to stay, including inside the park. We love the holiday cottages that are dotted around the park, as the owners of the houses are dedicated to sustainability and protecting the environment.  

Are your feet itching to get out and march through the beautiful Parc Naturel de la Brenne? It's only a car journey away, and don't forget that booking your tickets with us early will give you the best price.

Book travel

from £30
Prices start from £30 per car, each way* *£30 Day Trip & Overnight - Ticket must be purchased as part of a 2 day return. Return must be completed by midnight (local time) on the second calendar day. Book your travel now