Visit the Zoological Park of Paris
Visiting Paris with children can get overwhelming, as the city’s wonders are not always suited for kids. Are you looking for the perfect children-friendly activity in Paris? Or just for a place to have a taste of wildlife and visit animals in the heart of Paris? I have the perfect suggestion for you: how about spending an afternoon at the Zoological Park of Paris?
“Such a perfect day
Feed animals in the zoo
Then later, a movie too and then home”
Lou Reed sang it in 1972, and decades later, I would advise you to relive the experience of a perfect day in Paris by discovering its Zoological Park. Although, it is forbidden to feed the animals!
The Zoological Park: a wildlife haven in the heart of Paris
The Zoological Park of Paris (also known as Parc Zoologique de Paris, Zoo de Paris or Zoo de Vincennes), is Paris’ zoo and can be found in the 12th arrondissement, on the Daumesnil Avenue.
It has been open since 1934, and spawns over more than 14 hectares in the city. Every day, hundreds of families take a stroll in its avenues and stop to observe its luxuriant wildlife or simply have a picnic.
If at the beginning, the zoo’s aim was to allow Parisians to get a taste of exotic animals; the park’s ethics has shifted in the last decade, to now become a pioneer in wildlife conservation.
What I appreciate most about the park is definitely that it presents the animals in their natural ecosystem and habitat. The Zoological park of Paris is home to more than 180 species, and by allowing visitors to observe them in their natural habitat, the park provides an intimate glimpse at the everyday lives of all animals.
The architecture of the park has been adapted and tailored to suit each animal’s need in terms of ecosystem. I do not only appreciate it because it respects the animals’ existence, but also because you can be assured to travel to each of the geographical zone of origin of the animals simply by walking in the park.
Touring the world by strolling in the park
As soon as you enter, I recommend you make sure to collect a map of the park at the ticketing; it will be very helpful. Indeed, what makes the park special to my eyes is that it is divided into 5 biozones corresponding to 5 geographical zones: Madagascar, Amazonia, Europe, Africa and Patagonia.
Each one of these zones holds a natural reconstitution of the region’s ecosystems and biodiversity. You are guaranteed to feel like you are travelling simply by strolling in the park.
Zebras, Lions, Rhinos; all in all, the zoo is home to more than 2000 animals. It is open from Monday to Sunday from 10 am to 5 pm, but be careful: the park closes on Tuesday. I would advise you to go during weekdays to avoid the queue of tourists and Parisians that want to discover the park during weekends.
Picnic at the Zoological Park: A complete experience
After your walk through the different biozones of the area, the zoological park of Paris has everything you need to satisfy your post-stroll cravings. Two Restaurants are located in the park (Le Siam and Le Zarafa); and 4 food trucks are settled along the zoo.
However, I have a special advice if you are lucky to visit the park in spring or summer: I would recommend you buy some fresh bread, cheese and everything you need beforehand, and seat in the grass to eat your picnic while sunbathing in the zoo.
The park indeed has two lovely designated picnic areas where couples and families eat together as soon as the sun comes out. If you go mid-summer, I would recommend to be careful thought: the park can get very sunny, so make sure to bring sun cream and hats for children.
Near the exit, you can find a souvenir kiosk and a bookshop. With its 500 square meters, it is big enough to ensure you find all the souvenirs and postcards that you want in order to keep a memory from your day.
A Unique Party Experience in Paris: July’s Special Silent Zoo
As surprising as it can get, I think one of the most unusual partying experiences in Paris can be found in the Zoological Park. Indeed, every year, in July, the Zoological Park hosts several parties at night when all visitors have left the park.
What makes these parties so special and enchanting is that they are Silent Parties – meaning the only music that you can hear is through the headphones they distribute you at the entrance. The Silent Parties are curated to respect the animals’ sleep and well-being, but at the same time, they represent a unique nocturnal experience to be lived in Paris.
Just picture this: hundreds of party-goers wildly dancing with headphones on in the most astounding silence. To my mind, these parties are a must if you are in Paris in July, and looking for a bizarre experience that not everybody is lucky to live. These events are not children friendly though, but they are absolutely perfect if you want to live an unusual, unique and picturesque partying experience in the French capital.
If you listen to my word and attend one of their silent parties, I would advise you to take some time to remove your headphones in the midst of the musical wilderness – seeing hundreds of strangers moving together in utter silence will make you understand a glimpse of what Nietzsche expressed when he wrote his famous sentence:
“And those who were dancing were thought to be crazy by those who could not hear the music”
Parc Zoologique de Paris
Avenue Daumesnil 75 012 Paris
Metro Porte Dorée (line 8)
Metro Saint-Mandé (line 1)
Bus 46, 86 or 325 (bus stop: Parc Zoologique)
Opening hours :
Monday to Sunday 10 am to 5 pm
Closed on Tuesdays
Adult – 20 €
Above 13 years-old – 17 €
Children – 15 €