The idea for the Safari and Wildlife Park was thought up by
Viscount de la Panouse, who decided to invest a large part of the family fortune on his
revolutionary vision of creating this exceptional place that was first opened to the
general public in 1968. At the time he was criticised by zoologists, who believed
that the then novel concept would be impossible to execute and yet it has become an
Parc Zoologique de Thoiry was Europe's first wildlife park and is situated in the Ile de France reagion, only around 35 minutes from the
Capital City of Paris and is home to uncaged animals
that include species such as giraffes, elephants, zebra and antelopes, that can live an
almost perfect life in the massive park, which surrounds the 16th century Thoiry castle.
The very popular Safari Park is something you have to experience within the confines of
your car or on a tour bus, purely for safety reasons, as you can get to see big cats,
bears, zebra, etc and there are around 800 free roaming animals, but thanks to a glass
tunnel, which is a unique and exciting concept, you can go on foot through this to see the
lions up close.
Other areas of the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry can be experienced on foot and you will need
to make sure you come prepared with those good old walking boots! You can get to see
other animals such as giraffe, monkeys, and a first in France are the Komodo dragons.
The beautiful chateau is still the family home of the Count La Panouse and is well worth a
visit in itself with the fantastic furniture and other objects on display such as
tapestries. There are guides in full costumes that will welcome you to the drawing
rooms and apartments of the chateau where you will get to hear some very amusing and
interesting stories about the castle and its past inhabitants. The chateau itself is
unique, as there is also a solar calendar that is landscaped into the garden and during
the solstice, the Chateau itself becomes transparent as the sun can be seen through
windows, which is projected onto this.
Anyone that loves a beautiful garden will not want to miss this place, as it has lots of
different types of garden that cover over 300 acres with beautiful and rare plants.
From a rose garden, a perfume garden, a bluebell wood with trees hundreds of years old,
botanical gardens, and a hydrangea walk plus more, they are here for all to enjoy.
The Labyrinth is a large maze and is the first one in the world to be interactive and it
has been described as a landscape scale computer game that will test all the family!
But there is even more to discover here. The zoological garden is a place of discovery
where you can walk around and see hundred of fascinating animals and the Parc Zoologique
de Thoiry has alternating themes between information and educational games to introduce
the often forgotten concepts and importance of the protection of all animal species.
The Mysterious Island is a fantastic adventure trail that the children absolutely love and
it has suspended bridges in the giant foliage, holes with sound games, a wooden pyramid to
climb, toboggans and much more.
Realistically, you need a whole day here to fully appreciate everything and you can bring
your own picnic along. Or if you prefer, there is a restaurant on site, called the
Jardin d'Hiver, which is situated at the entrance to the gardens and offers a choice of
food for all budgets on a self-service basis, but remember that your own animals, such as
dogs are not allowed into the Parc Zoologique de Thoiry at all.
You can choose just to visit the chateau on its own or any of the other attractions, but
if wish to combine everything for a day to remember whist you are on holiday in France,
then you would need to get a Promo Ticket, and this saves you money from paying
individually for each attraction and is discounted for both adults and children.
You can also arrange to have only a half-day visit to specific attractions and there are
guided tours available for the larger groups.
The Parc Zoologique de Thoiry is open from 10am in the morning through to 5pm in the
winter months and 6pm in the summer months.
Address & Contact Details:
Parc Zoologique de Thoiry
du Pont de St-Cloud
Telephone: 1 34 87 53 76