May 30, 2011

Zoo de Lille

One of the perks of living in the big city, near the old part of town, in my awesome studio, is that I live near Lille’s big park, l’Esplanade. And while it’s always nice to live near a park for obvious park-y reasons (picnics, long strolls, etc), l’Esplanade is so much more than a normal park.

This is because Le Zoo de Lille is found within l’Esplanade.

The zoo's map.

A zoo in and of itself is pretty cool, but Le Zoo de Lille is even cooler because it is gratuit. That means free.

As soon as the weather started showing even smallest amount of sunshine, I started walking to the zoo and staring at the animals. I’ve been at least 5 times since the beginning of April.

Although it is small, the zoo totally surpassed my expectations. Since it was free I thought it would be teeny tiny with simply birds and reptiles.

But the Zoo de Lille houses not only birds and reptiles, but also zebras, monkeys, giant tortoises, meerkats, lemurs… and the list doesn’t end there!

It’s also a great way to spend one of France’s lazy Sundays, as despite everything else shutting down, the zoo remains open.

Lamas make me think of the Emperor's New Groove.

Jack Rabbits EDIT: This is not a Jack Rabbit. This is a Mara (thank you wikipedia!).
Jack Rabbits Maras are pretty much the strangest animals to me. Not only do they have deer legs and bunny bodies, but they constantly look like they are going to fall down while walking. Plus, this one is giving me the evil eye.

Upon discovering the Meerkats I giddily exclaimed, "it's like Meerkat Manor!" to FBF. Apparently this great television show has yet to be broadcasted to French audiences. After explaining to him breifly what it was, I started doing the narration for our very own Meerkats, imagining all sorts of drama.

Check it out:
Le Zoo de Lille
Parc Zoologique de Lille
Avenue Mathias Delobel
59000 Lille

Free entry, open to the public.
Summer hours (end of March until the end of October):
Weekday: 9h-18h
Weekend and Holidays: 9h-19h
Winter hours (end of October until the end of March):


  1. Always looking for Sunday activities. I need to find a way to get to Lille !

  2. I have a picture of the same white llama but he's shaved! How funny. When I saw him, I said, "llama faaaaace...." and Jeremie didn't get it. *sigh*

  3. How funny about the jack rabbits! I never knew what they looked like until I saw your photo. They are weird looking, non? And does the jack rabbit have a horn sticking out of the middle of his head? LOL

    Glad you can do something that's free...not to much of that in France.


  4. Meerkrat Manor--love it! I've yet to go to the Paris zoo, but I'm hoping I'll get there while the weather is nice so I can sneak a peak at the cute animals :)

  5. Brenna: Yes you do! I'll definitely show you around :)

    Amber: This is why we need each other. Sometimes FBFs FHs (French husbands) just don't get it.

    Kris: I hadn't noticed until the other day when FBF pointed it out! It totally looks like it does have a horn! I'll have to go back to investigate further.

    Jenna: and a free zoo is even better! The San Diego Zoo (the one closest to me growing up) is like $50.

    Linds: Let me know how it is! I didn't even know there was a zoo in Paris (did I really live there for an entire semester? You are always doing really cool things that I've never heard of...).

  6. The Lille zoo is a very nice place indeed. I'll never get tired of wandering through the alleys and looking at the animals. When I was at the university 8 years ago, there were two snow panthers, one male and one female. I left Lille in 2004 and then came back last year when I found a new job in the city, only to discover that the female panther died in 2008. I don't know what happened to the male one but I think the pen is now allocated to owls. The panthers were probably the most fascinating animals of the zoo and I was kind of sad to learn they were not there anymore. But anyway, the place is still amazing in so many other ways. My favorite cuddly toys are now the prairie dogs. Hakuna Matata! :-)

  7. Emilie: I'm sad to learn that there were once panthers at the zoo! They must have been lovely to watch. I'm still eagerly awaiting the reinstatement of new hippos. They were supposed to be there in April, but I went in the middle of June and still nothing! My favorite animal is the panda roux. It's just too cute!


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