The Paris Zoo

Located in Paris, Ile de France, the Paris Zoological Park, formerly known as Bois de Vincennes Zoological Gardens and commonly referred to as ‘’Vincennes Zoo‘’, introduces visitors to the deepest secrets of 180 different animal species, including 61 species of birds and 46 mammal species. In total, the park is home to more than 2,000 animals!

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Spread across an area of more than 14 hectares, accessible via a trail more than 4 kilometres long, the animals occupy clearly defined biozones that correspond to their natural habitats. The park also has an aviary and a tropical greenhouse in order to allow all the animals to thrive properly.

Part of the Museum of Natural History, the Paris Zoological Park offers programmes raising awareness about the conservation of endangered species. Let’s have a look at the details of this zoological garden nestled in the heart of the City of Light.

Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this zoo located in the heart of the City of Light.

Highlights

Paths

Paris zoo path
Paris Zoo path

They’re wide and spacious, which is very practical for a family visit with a pram for example. It’s even more appreciated on busy days, so as to not be walking all over each other.

Enclosures

Paris zoo lions
Lions enclosure

The enclosures are really vast, which can be disconcerting at first, but expresses a real desire to do whatever we can to maximise the animals’ wellbeing.

Due to their large dimensions, they offer multiple observation points.

In certain spots, covered spaces have even been set up to shelter visitors on rainy days. Handy!

Bay windows

Penguins’ basin Vincennes
The penguins’ basin

In front of each enclosure, the glass is very big and the grids very thin, which allows for nice souvenir photos!

Signage

signage Paris Zoological Park
Message for the visitors

Each enclosure is well-signposted. You’ll find detailed information on the animals you’re looking at. However, when there are a lot of visitors, it can unfortunately quite quickly become impossible to access the signs (due to their small size).

Cleanliness and welcome

Paris Zoo entrance
Park entrance

No doubt about it, Île de France’s zoo is well kept. There’s a lot of vegetation, which makes it easy to forget that you’re right in the heart of the capital. The staff is very friendly and welcoming.

Animals

bush dog Paris zoo
The bush dog

Besides the unmissable animals such as the giraffes, lions and monkeys, there are also rare species in the zoo, such as the manatee, the bush dog and the common European viper.

Exclusivities

blob
Physarum polycephalum, commonly called the ‘’blob’’

In 2019, the zoo announced a world exclusive: the exhibition of a ‘’blob’’, a mysterious creature with just one cell, which appeared 500 million years ago. It lives mainly in forests and humid environments and has the ability to multiply or divide itself at will. It’s also capable of moving at a speed of 1cm an hour, despite not having wings or members. In theory, it is immortal. Basically, a natural curiosity that can’t be missed!

Activities

sea lion animal keeper
Exercises with a sea lion

There’s many of them, right throughout the year: animal feeding (otters, lemurs, wolves, vultures, giraffes, tapirs, etc.), veterinary exercises, guided group visits, conferences, nighttime visits as part of the Nuit Blanche event, Silent Zoo evenings (the visitors wander around the park’s paths listening to electronic music broadcast through headphones), etc. So many ways to appreciate the zoo from another angle.

animal keeper
A carer with a sea lion

The zoo also offers a very well-loved activity: carer for a day. For a whole day, you accompany a carer who’ll introduce you to their job, show you the ‘’behind the scenes’’ of the park, give you interesting facts about the zoo and will offer you, as an apprentice, to participate in feeding the animals (manatees, the birds of the Large Aviary or lemurs).

In addition, quizzes and fun trails can be found throughout the park – fun for both kids and their parents. You can, for example, try out a long-distance jump to try and beat the puma. Or even test out the barefoot path: a sensory experience where the objective is to perceive the different textures of the ground and the diversity of the natural environments where the animals evolve: fine sand, pine needles, spruce, tree logs… and even mud!

Sponsorship

Cuvier dwarf caiman
The Cuvier drawf caiman, one of the animals that can be sponsored

It’s possible to sponsor the animal of your choice for a year. What does that consist of? It’s simple, the donation you make helps, be it in a direct or indirect way, the species’ wellbeing: daily care for the animals, study of the species in its natural habitat, education of local populations regarding animal conservation, support for animal defense and protection assocations, etc.

Throughout the year, the zoo sends you news of the sponsored animal and provides you with exclusive privileges, like for example an invitation to a zoo premiere.

A method, that allows us to raise awareness about animal biodiversity matters from a young age, that must be praised!

Catering

"Le Siam" restaurant
Le Siam, a restaurant at the zoo

Two picnic spaces are available, so you’re not obliged to get out your wallet to have lunch in one of the park’s two restaurants, or to buy a snack at one of the kiosks spread around at the four corners of the zoo.

Points to improve

Price

entrance Paris zoo
Queue

The entry ticket price is a bit high, especially if you’re going to the park as a family.

But let’s consider that caring for the animals is expensive, as is the maintenance of the park.

To get the most out of your visit to the Paris animal park, stay several hours and don’t hesitate to come back and have a look at the animals that you weren’t able to spot the first time around.

We also recommend that you buy a fast-track ticket in advance, online, to take advantage of reductions and, more than anything, to not have to queue.

Atmosphere

Paris zoo rock
The Big Rock

Even though the park seems much less concrete-based since its renovation in 2014, some aspects of the park like the Big Rock, 65 metres tall and emblem of the zoo, give off an overall “artificial” impression.

Animals

giraffes Paris zoo
The giraffes’ enclosure

Sometimes, the animals hide, whether it be because of the kids making noise, because of the heat, or simply because they like living hidden, as they would in their natural habitat (this is true in the case of the wolves for example).

Some days, you’ll struggle to even find the slightest trace of life in the enclosures. That’s however the concept of the modern zoo, which prioritises the animals’ comfort over visitors’ demands. An inconvenience for a good reason in the end, don’t you think?

One could also lament the absence of big animals (elephants, bears and tigers, for example), but the conditions were not right to adequately house such species at Vincennes. The Paris Zoological Gardens’ aim is also to give priority to threatened or little-known species, which must be saluted. You should know, though, that you can still see giraffes, lions and even rhinoceroses.