Having an adventurous spirit and an iron will certainly helped Claude Caillé when it came to founding the zoo in La Palmyre in 1966.
His love of animals started when he was 20 years old thanks to his wife, and it would continue to drive him for the rest of his life. After studying zoology, he embarked on a career in the animal world by setting up a little travelling zoo as an educational tool, giving presentations at schools with his wife.
During the 1960's, his passion took him as far as Africa, where he captured animals. On his return to France, he decided to open a zoo.
He fell in love with La Palmyre as the site to bring his zoo to fruition. It is just next to the Atlantic and surrounded by a pine forest.
When the zoo opened to the public in 1966, it had approximately 60 animals spread over a 7 acre area of land. It is now the most visited zoo in the whole of France and, with its 1,600 animals, has also become one of the best known in Europe.
The mammals you can see there include bison, elephants, gorillas, macaques, lions, jaguars, marmosets, orangutans, flying foxes, tigers, panthers, kangaroos, wolves, gibbons, leopards, and giraffes. As for the birds, there are macaws, flamingos, rheas, ostriches, ibis, pelicans, hornbills, and penguins.
The reptiles are represented by caimans, pythons, crocodiles, turtles, and iguanas.
La Palmyre Zoo
17570 Les Mathes, France
Tel.: +33 (0) 5 46 22 46 06 (administration), +33 (0) 8 92 68 18 48 (information)
Open all year round from 9:00am to 7:00pm from 1st April to 30th September and from 9:00am to 6:00pm the rest of the year
Sea-lion and parrot shows are put on from April to the end of October
Average visit time: 4 hours
The park is accessible to people with reduced mobility
Adult price: £12.30
Child price (3 to 12 years): £8.80