Zoo de la Palmyre

Zoo de la Palmyre is a zoo in the Charente-Maritime in France. The zoo covers approximately 18 hectares and you can find more than 1,600 animals there.

Most beautiful zoo in Europe

Zoo de la Palmyre is sometimes called the most beautiful zoo in Europe and is the most famous zoo in France. The park is located in the maritime pine forest of the Arvert peninsula, which creates a special atmosphere.


Zoo de la Palmyre was founded in 1966 by Claude Caillé, who previously had a mobile zoo with which he traveled to French schools. Claude had a passion for wildlife, which led him to study zoology. Together with his wife and two sons, he eventually started a small zoo in the middle of a pine forest. With the 60 animals he started his zoo with, he attracted many visitors in the first year. Today the park attracts more than 800,000 visitors per year. So you see that dreams can come true. Claude Caillé turned the zoo into a real family business.

Wild world

You can walk through the 18 hectare park and admire the animals along a four kilometer long signposted route. The zoo is sometimes compared to a jungle book because of the environment and design. You can also view the animals up close. You can even feed the giraffes.
Zoo de la Palmyre spends part of the entrance fee that you pay for your visit on projects for the conservation of animal species. The endangered species in the zoo also receive extra care.

The animals

Zoo de la Palmyre is home to more than 1,600 animals and approximately 130 species. Some of these animal species are:

  • Chimpanzee : The chimpanzee is the best-known great ape. It is almost the same size as humans, but weighs less and is slightly less intelligent. Apart from humans, the chimpanzee is probably the smartest animal in the world.
  • Asian elephant : Elephants can hold up to seven liters of water in their trunks. They can drink up to 200 liters of water per drinking session.
  • American bison : Due to bison hunting, the bison is today an endangered species.
  • Gibbon : Gibbons can ‘fly’ 10 to 15m from tree to tree.
  • Gorilla : The gorilla is the largest and strongest ape species. They are often slaughtered in the wild, making them an endangered species.
  • Giraffe : Giraffes give birth while standing. The giraffe cub falls to the ground from a height of two meters when it is born, but after about an hour it is already up on its feet to drink.
  • Cheetah : Cheetahs can run up to 60 miles per hour. They are the fastest animals on land.
  • Hippopotamus : Hippos have the same ancestors as whales. The hunting of hippos for ivory and meat has now made them an endangered species.
  • Red kangaroo : These kangaroos can jump up to nine meters and reach speeds of 48 km/hour.
  • Lion : Lions are also an endangered species today.
  • Wolf The big difference between dogs and wolves is that dogs bark and wolves howl.
  • Hyena : The hyena is also an endangered species. There are only 4,000 wild hyenas left in Africa.
  • Orangutan : Of all the great apes, orangutans climb trees the most.
  • California sea lion : The name sea lion refers to the mane the animals have. The California sea lion is an intelligent species, which makes it easy to train.
  • Red panda : Also called little panda. It is an endangered species.
  • White rhino : The largest species of rhino and the second largest modern land animal after the elephant.
  • Zebra : An equine native to Africa.
  • Polar bear : Also called polar bear. Currently, the polar bear is an endangered species due to global warming.
  • Macaw : Bird from the order of parrots.


Animal shows

From Easter to All Saints’ Day there are shows with trained sea lions and parrots.

Facts about Zoo de la Palmyre

  • In 1976, a huge number of animals were evacuated from the zoo due to a forest fire near the zoo. Fortunately, the fire went out about 100 meters from the park.
  • In 1996, a basin for polar bears was created. Visitors can admire the polar bears both in the water and on the ground.
  • In October 1992, a female cheetah was born at Zoo de la Palmyre. However, in 2001 the vet had to put the animal to sleep because it turned out to be infected with mad cow disease. The animal is said to have become infected by a piece of meat it had eaten.
  • In October 2005, Claude Caillé retired and his son, Patrick Caillé, took over the zoo.
  • Claude Caillé passed away on March 17, 2011 at the age of 80.


Opening hours and prices

  • From April 1 to September 30: 9am-7pm
  • The rest of the year: 9am-6pm
  • Free parking
  • Dogs not allowed
  • Adults: 13 euros
  • Children from 3 to 12 years: 9 euros

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