Zoo of Paris reopens
It is one of the most celebrated landmarks in eastern Paris.The Grand Rocher, a 65m fake boulder that dominates the skyline around the Bois de Vincennes, is the defining symbol of the French capital’s zoo.
Now, the renamed Parc Zoologique de Paris is ready to open its gates once more after being closed for nearly six years for a €133m renovation. Managers say it is the first time a zoo has been completely rebuilt.
The 14.5-hectare site, with about four kilometres of walkways, has been designed with the animals in mind. They have been grouped by region rather than type: Madagascar, Patagonia, Guyana, Europe and Sahel-Sudan.
Where possible, the animals cohabit. Giraffes with ostriches, a large, lethargic manatee with huge tropical fish, zebras with rhinos – though there are strategically placed posts through which the zebras can, if necessary, flee. Not surprisingly, the lion, called Nero, who stubbornly refused to come out from behind a tree during an open day for the press on Saturday, has his own pen as he awaits the arrival of three lionesses.
Most of the animals moved out for the renovations will not be returning, so zoo officials have had to find replacements.
The herd of giraffes stayed throughout the work. There are 16 – some with park lineage dating back to 1934 – including three born during the transformation of their home.
Clever landscaping, including fake rocks and boulders, acts as a trompe l’oeil to the fact that the 1,000 animals are in captivity. But officials say they have done their best to recreate the most natural habitat possible for the 180 species – including 42 mammal, 21 reptile, 15 fish and 74 bird species.
Even the Grand Rocher, which looks like a backdrop to a King Kong movie but was built to conceal two water reservoirs, has been patched up and given a makeover.
Entrance tickets are €11 for children, €22 for adults.