The Beauval Zoo is the largest zoological park in France. With more than 35,000 animals and 800 species spread over 44 hectares, it is especially renowned for presenting rare animals, not visible elsewhere in France. It is constantly evolving. The best proof: when I was young, the flagship animals were the white tigers and white lions. Now, for the last 10 years, we have only been hearing about giant pandas.
Since we live only 1h30 away from the zoo, we have already been there several times with Denis. This article aims to provide you with all the information and advice to prepare your visit to Beauval Zoo.
Where is the Beauval Zoo?
The Beauval Zoo is in the department of Loir-et-Cher in the region Centre-Val de Loire. It is 45 minutes’ drive south of Blois, 1 hour from Tours and 3 hours from Paris.
The exact address of the Zoo of Beauval is: Avenue du Blanc, 41110 Saint-Aignan.
How long to visit the Beauval Zoo?
The ideal is to plan a whole day for a first visit to the Beauval Zoo. This will allow you to see the entire zoo and possibly attend some of the shows. You can also buy 2-day tickets which are very interesting if you want to see a maximum of animations (shows, feeding of the animals…) and to take advantage of two mornings, the most convenient moments to see the active animals.
Even if we know the park for having already visited it several times, we always stay a long time at the zoo. The last time, in March 2022, we stayed 5 hours, including the visit of all the spaces of the zoo, sometimes quickly, and our lunch break. Note that this duration seems to us a minimum since it was not crowded at that time, and we did not attend the shows.
What is the best day to go to Beauval Zoo?
The park is an extremely touristic site. To give you an idea, it welcomed 1.4M visitors in 2021. If this corresponds to an average of more than 3,800 people per day. The reality is that a very large part of the visits are concentrated on weekends, Wednesdays, school vacations and public holidays. I let you imagine the crowd in the middle of July or August…
The best periods to visit the Beauval Zoo are from March to June (avoiding school vacations) and from September to October. This way you can enjoy the beautiful days. As for the best day of the week to go to Beauval Zoo, it is better to go on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays if you can.
If you have children, it is obviously more difficult to avoid the busy periods. So plan to arrive before the park opens to save time at the ticket booths and to start visiting before the zoo gets too full.
What are the opening hours of the Beauval Zoo?
The Beauval Zoo is open every day of the year from 9a.m. until nightfall. You can enter until 5:30 p.m. in winter and until 7:30 p.m. in summer.
Do I need to book my tickets for Beauval?
I strongly advise you to buy your tickets in advance for the Beauval Zoo to avoid the queues at the ticket offices.
If you did not buy tickets, there are several cashiers at the entrance.
What are the entrance fees for Beauval?
Beauval Zoo offers 1 day or 2-day tickets to visit the park:
|1 day ticket||2-day ticket|
|Adult: 11 years old and more||€34||€51|
|Child: 3 to 10 years old||€27||€40,50|
|Baby: up to 3 years old||Free||Free|
Would you like to offer tickets to your family or friends? From 2 to 3 € more, you can buy an undated ticket that is valid on any day for one year.
If you live close enough to Beauval, you may also be tempted by the annual pass. The ZooPass allows you to visit Beauval Zoo an unlimited number of times during the year for a price equivalent to only 2 entries. For a price equivalent to 3 admissions, you will benefit from many additional advantages such as free tickets, invitations to events and discounts in the stores and restaurants of the park.
Prepare your visit to Beauval Zoo
Where can I park?
A total of eight parking lots are available for visitors around the zoo, with no less than 4,000 spaces. One of them is reserved for motorhomes and there are places reserved for bikes, motorcycles and scooters. All the parking lots of the Beauval Zoo are free.
Despite many visits, including on busy days, we always found a place to park.
The map of the ZooParc de Beauval
A map is provided at the entrance to guide you through the different areas of the park. However, if you want to prepare your visit to be sure not to miss anything, you can find it online. You can either download the map of the zoo from the Beauval website or download their application on your smartphone.
You will be able to find the zoo’s entrances, the enclosures of the must-see animals, the restaurant points…
Shows and animations
Two shows are offered once or several times a day depending on the time of year:
- “L’Odyssée des Lions de Mer”: a 20-minute show with sea lions
- ”Les Maîtres des Airs”: a 30-minute bird show
Throughout the day, animations are also organized at the level of the animals’ enclosures. They aim to provide a lot of information on the animals of the park. Some of these activities are accompanied by the feeding of the animals.
The schedules of the animations are indicated and updated in the park and on the website or the mobile application of the Zoo de Beauval.
Can we eat inside the Beauval Zoo?
Visiting Beauval Zoo takes time and energy (it’s a lot of walking… your legs hurt at the end of the day!). You will want to take a break for lunch. What facilities are available for eating?
Food and beverage shops
Fifteen food outlets are scattered throughout the zoo. You can choose between different types of food to satisfy your appetite: self-service, Asian food, sandwiches, snacks, ice cream, etc.
Depending on the day and the time of the year, not all shops are open. So, I advise you to look beforehand on their website to know where to go when the time comes.
In March, we were tricked. Indeed, when we started to be hungry, we were in a part of the park where the 4 closest restaurants were closed. So we took a detour to find our food at the creperie La Roseraie.
In theory, it is not allowed to picnic in the park. Beauval suggests either to eat in one of its restaurants or to leave the zoo to have lunch at a picnic area located near the main parking.
In fact, we have seen several people eating their sandwiches inside the park without being noticed by the staff. It is likely that we will do the same thing the day we return to Beauval. However, if you go during the busy season, it might be difficult to find a quiet place to picnic.
Where to buy a souvenir of your visit to Beauval?
To take with you a souvenir of the zoo, three stores are present at the entrances / exits of the park:
- “Au Royaume des Pandas”: as its name suggests, it is entirely dedicated to giant pandas. It is located at the south entrance of the park.
- “Autour du Monde”: you will find souvenirs about many animals from the 4 corners of the planet. This store is also at the main entrance of the park.
- “Uluwatu”: store dedicated to the animals seen in the “Equatorial Dome” located at the North entrance.
The highlights of our visit to Beauval Zoo
I am not going to tell you all about our visit to the Beauval Zoo because it would not be interesting. However, here are the things that I think you should not miss during your visit to the zoo.
The Giant Pandas
The ZooParc de Beauval is the only zoo in France to host giant pandas. Present since 2012, the couple Huan Huan (female) and Yuan Zi (male) attract many visitors curious to discover these animals that look like gigantic stuffed animals. The pandas are in the part of the zoo called “The Heights of China”.
The births of 3 baby pandas (one in 2017 and two in 2021) have, of course, made a lot of noise as they are exceptional for this threatened species.
When we visited in March 2022, the twins Yuandudu and Huanlili had only been outside for a few days. We saw them there, one sat in a tree and the other lounging on a wooden structure. Their mother was lying in the shade. The males, the father and the young panda of 4 years old, were visible in their interior enclosures.
The Equatorial Dome
Opened in 2020, the equatorial dome is an impressive metal and glass structure in which many tropical species such as the giant otter, the dwarf hippopotamus or the Caribbean manatee can be found. Designed as a terrarium, the dome is maintained at a high temperature for the well-being of the animals. Each part corresponds to a continent.
Monkeys can be found in several places in the zoo, notably in the Chimpanzee and Orangutan greenhouse, the Gorilla greenhouse and in the small monkey alleys. With Denis, we particularly enjoy seeing the monkeys evolve and play together. They are always the most alert animals.
“Le Nuage de Beauval”: the Cable Cars
Inaugurated in 2019, the Beauval cable cars link the land of lions to the one of the elephants. The “Nuage”, the name given to the Beauval cable cars, is very practical as it avoids having to cross a whole part of the zoo on foot. It is also a chance to admire the park in a different way.
Once we visited the Equatorial Dome, we took the cable car next to the lion area to reach the south of the park. The 800 meters crossing at almost 40 meters high is impressive, even more with the glass floor of the cabin. You can also go the other way around.
In France, Beauval is the best zoo in France. If you love animals or if you are going to the part of France, plan a day to visit it entirely. Whether alone, as a couple or with children, you will enjoy the moment.
I love travels, photos and food. Through this blog, I like to share my experiences and travel tips.