My visit to the Animal Park of Courzieu (Parc de courzieu) and my first use of the TIPTOP card!
This is a small but lovely natural park with the other type (I would say no common, no zoo popular) animals. There are wolves, eagles, owls and…snails… All to be observed and admired and not to be eaten …Don’t get the wrong idea of escargots show…it is not a tasting 😉
The main idea of the park is that you have a real chance to observe the behaviour of those animals being so closed to them indeed. And so how does it work? Well, you should arrive for 11.30 am when there is a feeding of wolves.
This show lasts around half an hour and there is a guy who takes care of the animals and feeds them and educate us all about wolves. So, this part was pretty interesting and I felt like got a free French listening class! It was also impressive to see how the wolves share (or not share) the food; what is the hierarchy of them in a group and who is allowed to eat first. I loved their ‘ready to get the food’ posture and seeing them so close and beautiful was a good experience to me and others…yet….i felt a bit sad when I have seen them in the surrendered area and waiting for the food and being forced to be exposed to us – people…no circus really…but still sad..
Anyway, moving on…it seems that after the show there was a nice time slot to enjoy the park. I had a wander around (the area is not that big thought but the forest is so peaceful and relaxing) and I ‘met’ the beautiful white wolf. It is stunning! It is also surrended to be protected but seemed more comfortable with the bigger space and less people watching at him…
Then I get the time to have a picnic lunch and it seems ideal to eat in the nature. But if you forgot to bring any feed with yourself, there is also small cosy restaurant which provides you a set menu for about 10 euros. This is a simple meal of sausages and french fries and the shop sell some more sweets and many ice creams. So you will not starve there ;-). Ok, so once I have eaten I was ready for another show.
At 2 pm there is an Eagles, Falcons, Kites, Vultures Show. I was totally amazed by it. We sat down in a small arena and few guys who takes care of the birds started playing the music, get ready food and the amazing spices started to fly above our heads and they were jumping on us and among us so that was scary but funny experience but mostly exceptional as I could admire them so close and I have never seen such birds next to me so close. I enjoyed it as they are truly beautiful and magnificent and so smart… yet again I felt very sad seeing them being captured in the cages…lets say for their protection but still when you think they are free just once a day for a show it is really sad…
I would highly recommend coming over to the Parc de Courzieu and having a chance to observe those types of animals. There are also 2 more shows in the afternoon such as snails and owls. I gave it a miss this time as I wanted to visit one charming castle on the way back and needed some time for this. But all in all the day at the park was great. The adult ticket is just 14.5 euro and when you take your TIPTOP card and a friend you will get a second ticket free and its so cheap&Simple as that!
So on my way back to Lyon I had a chance to admire amazing mountainous landscape I stopped next to the small Château et Chapelle de Saint Bonnet Le Froid.
It is such a gem! I didn’t relised that small castle serves as hotel as well. It is set in a 10-hectare planted park and is located in Saint-Bonnet. It also offers an outdoor swimming pool with sun loungers and amazing view. Actually, you can easily book it here online (via booking.com) and stay there for a day or few and enjoy the castle experience (it looks stunning!) and the local ‘balades’ (as the French call the walks in the hills, forests and close to the nature . Wow, I love discovering those unplanned, spontaneous places…these are such local gems!
We had a small walk here as well as I noticed there the real bulls nearby and I wanted to see them close.
So I did and then I felt so much better! They are freely up there on the open space, all together and so beautiful. They are enjoying time with their little ones and the fresh green grass. What surprised me was the fact that they seemed so scared of me…how come? They were running away and seemed unsettled. I hope I don’t look that scary! Anyway the whole landscape was stunning, the small castle was charming and I have just realized that this is a very good place for walks and relaxing time close to the nature…but for the next time as you probably should allow at least half a day or the whole one to get a good experience. For me it was just half an hour stop to speak to the bulls and take some photos and have a moment just to admire….
So this was like a great day out indeed and on the budget thanks to the TIPTOP card and home prepared picnic! I spent as little as 7.25 euro for a ticket (I got it half price as promised and without any problems!) …and the landscapes on the way up to the Park of Courzieu and back were truly magnificent and spectacular…All is highly recommened…get out when the weather is getting so nice…