13 must-see things to do around Beauval Zoo

Zoo de Beauval

Visiting the Loire Valley? Discover the 13 must-see things to do around Beauval Zoo!

Zoo de Beauval is considered one of Europe’s finest animal parks. It lies at the heart of one of France’s most beautiful regions, with its long history and exceptional heritage. The nearby town of Saint-Aignan is a must-see when visiting Zoo de Beauval.

But there are many other wonders in the surrounding area. To help you discover them, we’ve listed the 13 must-see things to do around Beauval Zoo in this article!

1. The old town of Tours

Tours touraine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Romas_Photo

If you’re visiting Beauval Zoo, you won’t want to miss a trip to this city with its fascinating history. It is a city of many titles: ancient Caesarodunum, city of the Turones founded by Augustus, capital of the county of Tours, the garden of France, and a city of art with the School of Tours. The White and Blue City’s historic center has been listed by Unesco as an Outstanding Heritage Site.

You’ll discover medieval and Renaissance townhouses, boulevards and monuments of Parisian architecture. Admire the Cathédrale Saint-Gatien de Tours, its dazzling basilicas and churches. You’ll also enjoy the calm and beauty of its gardens, and beautiful views over the Loire River, spanned by its magnificent bridge.

In short, the city is a must-see for anyone who loves history, culture or architecture.

2. Chenonceau Castle

Château de Chenonceau

Photo credit: Shutterstock – stocker1970

The Loire Valley is famous for its many châteaux. Once fortresses protecting the region during the Hundred Years’ War, most were rebuilt or extensively remodeled in the 15th and 16th centuries. At the time, the region was home to the court of the kings of France, Charles VII and Louis XI, who made Tours their capital.

If you’re visiting Beauval Zoo, don’t miss a visit to Château de Chenonceau. It’s famous for its two-storey gallery overlooking the Cher River. A jewel in the crown of Loire Valley architecture, its Italian borrowings and French features are clearly visible.

3. Blois and its Royal Castle

Chateau de Blois

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Sergey Berestetsky

Another of the region’s major cities, Blois is another of its historic landmarks. During the reign of Louis XII, the town was even a royal residence for around a century. It has preserved a significant cultural heritage from this period, with its Château Royal, Saint-Louis Cathedral and two magnificent churches.

Like its neighbor Tours, Blois is home to beautiful mansions, peaceful gardens and a magnificent bridge spanning the Loire River. A visit to Blois and its castle is a must around Beauval Zoo!

4. Château de Chambord

Château de Chambord

Photo credit: Shutterstock – gumbao

Chambord is one of the most famous of the Loire castles. Built in the heart of the largest enclosed forest park in Europe, it is one of the largest. As a young king, François I ordered its construction. A true work of architecture, it stands as a symbol of royal power written in stone.

The château’s layout and decor were designed around a central axis: the famous double-revolving staircase, inspired by Leonardo da Vinci. A symbol of the Renaissance, the Château de Chambord is a must-see in the region! If you’re visiting the Beauval Zoo, this is a must-see!

5. Visit the Touraine vineyards

Vin touraine

Photo credit: Shutterstock – RYSAN

Another must-do around Zoo de Beauval is a visit to the Touraine vineyards. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Loire Valley is home to some unique landscapes. Designed for centuries by passionate winegrowers, these terroirs are fortunately easy to discover.

In the Sud Val de Loire region, you can follow the vineyard trail on foot, by car or by bike. This experience will introduce you to a number of certified estates. In these cellars, you’ll discover the region’s 8 AOC wines. You’ll be able to taste exceptional products in magnificent surroundings.

6. Brenne Regional Nature Park

Repos Parc naturel de la Brenne

Photo credit: Facebook – Parc naturel régional de la Brenne

To the south of Zoo de Beauval lies one of France’s most beautiful regional parks. In addition to its wild, natural landscapes, the Brenne is home to exceptional biodiversity. In the midst of moors, ponds, woods and meadows, flora and fauna flourish in complete tranquillity.

Here you can observe butterflies, dragonflies, birds and many other animals. The park is ideal for exploring on foot, by bike, canoe or even on horseback. There are many signposted itineraries. You’ll also find a number of charming villages and towns, as well as castles that are just as much a must-see.

7. The town and château of Loches

Loches

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Rolf E. Staerk

This small town in Touraine, on the Indre river, is known for its well-preserved historical heritage and its château. You’ll discover an intact Romanesque keep, a fortress of remarkable size and architecture.

You can also visit the Logis Royal, built on the tip of the rocky spur overlooking the Indre valley. It was a favorite residence of the Valois family during the Hundred Years’ War. In addition to the château, the town is home to a host of monuments, houses and ancient churches that are well worth a visit.

8. The Espace automobiles Matra Museum

Musée Matra

Photo credit: Facebook – Official Matra Museum

If you’re a motorsports enthusiast visiting Beauval Zoo, be sure to pay a visit to the Matra Museum. Located in Romorantin-Lanthenay, it traces Matra’s history in the automotive industry.

The museum presents the brand’s extraordinary saga in three dimensions: the industrial adventure it represents, and its unique sporting achievements. You’ll also discover its spirit of innovation, symbolized by the many prototypes on display. In all, you’ll admire some fifty vehicles.

9. The village of Issoudun

Issoudun

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Daniel Jolivet

A stronghold in the Middle Ages, Issoudun was once a Mecca for fairs and markets. The town has preserved several monuments that bear witness to its rich history. These include the Tour Blanche, built in the 12th century on the orders of Richard the Lionheart.

Standing 28 metres above the town, it offers a superb panoramic view of Issoudun and the surrounding area. Today, this medieval keep houses a fine exhibition on its history and legendary characters. You can also visit the former Hôtel-Dieu and its Hospice Saint-Roch museum, which houses some superb collections.

10. Montrichard

Montrichard

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Antoine2K

Along the Cher river lies the beautiful town of Montrichard. Here, you’ll take a trip back in time. Beautifully preserved, this authentic medieval town dating back to the 11th century invites you to discover its famous keep and fortifications.

Along its cobbled streets, you’ll discover an exceptional heritage. You’ll also enjoy a magnificent view over the Cher valley. And if you’re visiting Beauval Zoo, don’t miss a visit!

11. La Magnanerie, troglodytic site

La Magnanerie

Photo credit: Laurent Wastiels

Located in Montrichard, in the heart of the countryside, this troglodyte site offers visitors in search of authenticity a most unusual visit. Overlooking the Cher river, this site will enchant you with its tranquillity, beauty and the mysterious world of its galleries piercing this pretty hillside.

Here you’ll discover the old farmhouse carved out of the Bourré tufa rock, and the silkworm nursery. The silkworm farm is a historic site of silk production and silkworm rearing in Touraine.

12. Bourges

Cathédrale Saint-Étienne, Bourges

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Felix Lipov

The beautiful town of Bourges is obviously one of the must-sees around Beauval Zoo. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Saint-Etienne’s Cathedral is its most famous monument. This sublime Gothic cathedral dominates the entire city.

Built in 1195, it stands 65 metres high in the heart of Bourges. Take a tour of the medieval quarter, admire the Jacques Coeur Palace and visit the Musée du Berry.

13. Other Loire Valley Châteaux

Clos Lucé

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Cezary Wojtkowski

Still wondering what to do around Beauval Zoo? Then take advantage of the rest of your stay to visit more of the Châteaux de la Loire. In addition to Chenonceau and Chambord, there are many other unique sites to discover.

You can visit the Royal Château d’Amboise or the Château de Beauregard. You can also visit the Château du Clos Lucé, which houses a small museum in Leonardo da Vinci’s former home. Models of his work are on display.

How to get to Beauval Zoo

Depending on where you’re coming from to visit Zoo de Beauval, there are a number of different options.

By car

Beauval Zoo is located near the village of Saint-Aignan, just an hour’s drive from Tours or Blois.

Here are several itineraries to follow from several major cities:

  • From Paris, take theA10 to Orléans, then theA71 towards Vierzon, and finally theA85 Saint-Aignan exit;
  • From Rennes, take theA81 to Le Mans, then theA28 to Tours, then theA85;
  • From Nantes, take theA11 motor way, then branch off onto theA85;
  • From Clermont-Ferrand, take theA71 to Vierzon, then follow theA85;
  • From Limoges, take theA20 to Châteauroux, then follow the departmental roads.

By train

There are several options for getting to Beauval Zoo by train. You can take a train to Blois station. A shuttle bus operated by the animal park will then take you to your destination.

You can also take a train to Tours and then a regional train to Saint-Aignan station.

By bus

Beauval Zoo is served at certain times by a Flixbus service. You can also take the bus to Tours, then take the train to the village of Saint-Aignan.

Where to stay at Beauval Zoo?

If you’re planning to visit Beauval Zoo and the Loire Valley, you’re bound to be wondering where to stay. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of accommodation in the region.

In particular, you can stay in one of the animal park’s hotels. You can also opt for a gîte or campsite in the surrounding area, such as in Saint-Aignan and the surrounding area like Seigy. In all cases, we recommend using a hotel comparator to find the most suitable solution.

Now that you know what to do, are you ready to visit Beauval Zoo and the surrounding area?

Map of hotels and accommodation – Indre et loire