Are you planning to visit the Beauval Zoo, nicknamed “the most beautiful zoo in France”? Here’s everything you need to know about Beauval Zoo!

Located in the French commune of Saint-Aignan, in the Loir-et-Cher region (41), Zooparc de Beauval is a vast animal park housing 35,000 animals of 800 different species over an area of 44 hectares. It is one of the largest zoos in France and Europe. Boosted by its reputation and its attractiveness to tourists and hotels – the park boasts four luxury hotels – the zoo attracted 2 million visitors in 2022.

Interested in visiting Beauval Zoo? Here’s our mini tour guide!

History of Zooparc de Beauval

La savane africaine du Zoo de Beauval

The story of the zoo, created in 1980, goes that Françoise Lajunias, alias Françoise Delord, then presenter of shows at the Salle Bobino (Paris), received as a gift a pair of African passerines (silver-billed capuchins). She later acquired two grey mandarin diamonds, and her collection grew to 400 animals. Unable to house all her specimens, she and her husband Jacques Lajunias (alias Jacques Delord) decided to open a wildlife park in Beauval: the future Beauval Zoo was born, and the launch of a lifetime dedicated to animals and their protection.

When it opened in 1980, the park already held over 2,000 birds, a collection that was unique in France from the outset. In 1989, the zoo welcomed its first wildcats and primates, becoming a zoological park that would go on to become one of the most renowned in France. The zoo gradually added green plains, tropical greenhouses, panoramic ponds and landscaped islands to accommodate white tigers (a subspecies of the Bengal tiger), orangutans, chimpanzees, snakes, Nile crocodiles, sea lions, birds of prey, pandas, manatees, gorillas, hyenas, white lions, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, ostriches and much more.

In 2016, Beauval Zoo held 3,000 mammals, birds and reptiles. At the end of 2018, Beauval Zoo boasts a total of 450 births per year – sometimes of very rare species – within the zoological park.

Who owns Beauval Zoo today?

Beauval Zoo is a simplified joint-stock company (SAS), 12% of whose capital is held by a bank, and 88% by the Delord family. It is therefore a family business.

Rodolphe Delord, son of Françoise Delord, the park’s founder, is the zoo’s general manager. Delphine Ardant is Associate General Manager.

What to see and do at Beauval Zoo?

As France’s largest zoo, a visit to Beauval Zoo gives you the chance to see thousands of animals, some threatened, protected and/or endangered, over 800 species across 44 hectares. Visiting the zoo’s collection of 35,000 animals, you’ll wander between tropical greenhouses, verdant plains, landscaped islands, aviaries and ponds.

The Beauval zoo is so vast that visitors must follow a guided tour to fully enjoy it: the animals are compartmentalized into 94 areas and enclosures (lemur islands, flamingo pond, nursery, giant tortoises, African savannah, white tigers, lion house, vivarium, meerkats and wild dogs, etc.). The zoo’s most emblematic residents are certainly the two giant Chinese pandas.

The Beauval zoo boasts 22 meticulously designed areas to provide visitors with a diverse and enriching experience. Among these are the great ape greenhouse, the bird greenhouse which houses 2,000 birds from all over the world, and the tropical gorilla and manatee greenhouse. The zoo also features an African plain where visitors can observe herbivorous species like rhinoceroses, wildebeests, and giraffes. Additionally, there’s the sea lion pool, the Australian greenhouse, the African elephant plain, the Asian plain, and territories dedicated to North American and South American fauna, including wolves, bears, and the vast pampas.

The “On the heights of China” area is a special treat, showcasing two giant pandas and snow leopards. The open-air theater offers a mesmerizing sight with 500 birds flying overhead. The zoo has been continually expanding, with the African extension introducing the “hippopotamus reserve” in 2016 and the “land of lions” in 2017. In 2020, the Equatorial Dome was unveiled, home to lamentines and komodo dragons. The most recent addition in 2023 is the Great South American Aviary, which is a sanctuary for 5 mammal species and over 500 birds.

Still have time to visit Beauval Zoo? Then take advantage of the various shows and events on offer at the park:

  • Maîtres des Airs” at the open-air theater : bird show.
  • L’Odyssée des lions de mer” in the aquatic amphitheater : sea lion show and educational activities on animal life.
  • In particular, you can take a course to learn how to care for the animals!

Is the cable car in operation?

The beauval zoo cable car gives you a unique view of the animal parks from the air

Construction work on the Beauval zoo cable car is now complete. The gondola system was inaugurated on March 30, 2019.

Dubbed the “Nuage de Beauval“, this means of transport (24 cabins in all) can carry up to 8 people per cabin.

It allows visitors to move more easily and quickly between the lion and elephant zones (800 meters apart, between 3.40 and 5.20 minutes’ travel time, depending on attendance and weather conditions). It also offers the chance to observe the animals from a unique vantage point, 40 metres above the ground, with a 360° panorama!

It’s free to use (included in the price of the ticket) and accessible to people with reduced mobility and baby carriages.

How to visit Zoo de Beauval ?

Start by downloading the map below to find your way around the estate (you can also download the zoo app, which is very practical): don’t try to visit the Beauval zoo in numerical order, as the animal enclosures are not hierarchically ordered.

the map to visit the zoo de Beauval

When is the best time to visit ZooParc de Beauval?

Depending on the length of your stay at Beauval, it’s best to wake up early! By arriving as soon as the park opens at 9 a.m., you can avoid the crowds and long queues.

The best time of year to visit the Beauval Zoo is in July and August, but for greater peace and quiet (and fewer crowds), it’s best to come during the spring and early autumn months.

What’s the best day of the week to visit Beauval?

The best days to visit Beauval without worrying about crowds are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

If you’re planning a weekend visit, Saturday is best.

How long does it take to visit the Beauval Zoo?

Ideally, you should plan to spend a whole day at Beauval, or even 2 if you really want to take your time. If you don’t have a whole day to devote to visiting the zoo, you should know that a minimum of 5 hours is enough to discover the whole zoo, as well as see the bird show, “Les Maîtres des Airs”, and the sea lion show, “L’Odyssée des lions de mer”.

Is it possible to eat at Zoo de Beauval?

Picnics are not permitted in the zoo. However, the zoo has 12 food outlets throughout the park. Otherwise, picnic tables and benches have been set up near the parking lot: you can take your lunch break there before returning inside the zoo, but be sure to get an exit stamp!

How do I get to Beauval Zoo?

How do I get to Beauval Zoo

To visit Beauval Zoo, we recommend that you take a full day. As the park is located near Blois, between Tours and Vierzon, there are several ways to get there:

– By car

From Paris, simply take the A10 towards Orléans, then Vierzon, Tours and finally Saint Aignan, before reaching the Zoo, which is signposted for easy access. If you’re coming from another town, choose Tours, Blois or Vierzon (whichever is closest in Loire Valley).

– By bus

You can reach Zoo de Beauval by bus. From Paris, you can book a round trip online, which includes a stopover in the medieval town of St Aignan sur Cher. You’ll arrive at the park at 10am. Allow 2 hours 45 minutes for the journey.

– By train

If you choose to travel by train, simply stop at Blois station before taking the shuttle bus to the Zoo (approx. 1h journey for €4 return). Please note, however, that the shuttle does not run every day, and is only operational from late March to November. To find out more, check the timetable before you leave.
Zoo de Beauval opening times and prices

>> Also read about Zoo de Beauval: How to get to Beauval Zoo Transportation & Parking

Book your ticket to Beauval Zoo

It’s best to book your ticket in advance to avoid queuing and unpleasant surprises on arrival.


  • 1-day ticket

– Adults (over 11): €35
– Children (3 to 10 years): €28
– Under 3s: free

  • 2-day ticket

– Adults: €52.50
– Children: €42
– Under 3s: free

  • ZooPass 1 year

– Adults: €78
– Children: €64
– Under 3s: free

Note that you can download the application to guide you through the zoo’s alleys and find answers to all your questions about the animals: or how to have a guided tour on your smartphone (but don’t abuse it to get the most out of it)!


The Beauval Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. :

  • Giant pandas

– November to February: 9 a.m. to 4.30 p.m.
– April, May, June, September: 9am to 6pm
– July, August: 9am to 8pm
– March and October: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

  • Hippopotamus reserve

– November to February: 9am to 5pm
– March, April, May, June, September, October: 9.30am to 6.30pm
– July, August: 9 am to 7.30 pm

  • Tropical greenhouses

– November to February: 9am to 5:30pm
– March, April, May, June, September: 9am to 7pm
– July, August: 9am to 8pm
– October: 9 am to 6 pm

  • Stores

– November and December: 9am to 6pm
– January: 9am to 5:30pm
– February: 9am to 6:30pm
– March and October: 9am to 7pm
– April, May, June and September: 9am to 7:30pm
– July, August: 9am to 8:30pm

In November and December, the store closes at 6.30pm on weekends, public holidays and school vacations.

How many people visit the Beauval Zoo?

ZooParc de Beauval is France’s leading zoological park, and one of the 5 most beautiful in the world according to Tripadvisor. It is the zoo with the greatest diversity of animals in France, including animals that are unique in France.

Its ideal location in the heart of the Loire castles makes it an ideal tourist destination.

It welcomed :

  • 2 million visitors in 2022 (record year)
  • 1.4 million visitors in 2021
  • 1.2 million visitors in 2020
  • 1.6 million visitors in 2019

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