19 January 2012

Some zoo faces

The last time I went to the ZooParc de Beauval was at the end of August. Our friends Evelyn and Lewis were here, and we spent an afternoon walking over all the 65 acres. I of course took a lot of photos, but for some reason I never posted any of them. Here are six examples.

Beauval means "Beautiful Valley" — and it is one. The stream that runs through the valley is called the Trainefeuilles — in French the verb trainer means "to pull along, to drag" and the noun feuilles means "leaves" — so it's the "Leaf-Dragger". Beauval is just four miles south of our house, but we didn't even know about it when we moved here nine years ago.

The zoo was created as a parc ornithologique in 1980. In 1989 it expanded its collection by adding a few big cats and primates, and in two decades, it has grown into a major zoo that is visited by half a million people every year. There are restaurants in the park, and there's a new hotel-restaurant complex just outside the zoo entrance. With the recent arrival of two giant pandas from China, Beauval is bound to pull even greater crowds.

Along with the major châteaux — Chenonceau, Cheverny, Chambord, and Chaumont-sur-Loire — the ZooParc de Beauval is a major attraction in the Loire Valley, and it's the major tourist facility in the immediate Saint-Aignan area.


  1. What a lovely set of photographs... each one gives rise to a "voice" caption. The lioness sunbathing... the chimp cogitating... the white tiger giving someone an earful... the camel looking as though someone has just told him a "particularly fruity joke...

  2. Thanks for the comment Tim. A lot of these photos were taken, obviously, with a long zoom, so they are grainy.

  3. Lovely photos. We must visit the zoo this year....meant to last year but we were somehow too busy.

  4. Heavens, those are fabulous photos, Ken!

  5. Fantastic photos, especially the first one.

  6. That first little monkey looks so forlorn.

  7. What great pics. I love good zoos and now feel the need to visit one here in Spain! We used to live near the San Diego Zoo, had a membership, and would walk over just for lunch and to visit one or two animals. What a pleasure.

  8. Great shots, as always.
    For any of you closer to the Paris region, the big "natural" setting safari zoo, like this, and the first of its kind, is Thoiry.
    There's a part that you walk through and another part that you drive through. They have the small red pandas, which I think are not on loan, but rather belong to the zoo.
    The Paris zoo, in the Bois de Vincennes, in closed for renovation. All the animals have been sent elsewhere except the giraffes. I wonder if they're lonely, all alone, in their enclosure, with no other animals around making familiar noises.

  9. I'm so glad we were able to visit the zoo with you. You certainly took some great photos. It's good to see those animals again.

    We are in CA for a few days and just visited the Hearst Castle which once had a zoo. I think some of the animals may be in the San Diego Zoo. Some of the zebras are living on the Hearst property roaming with the cattle!

    WF is boarcu;)


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