There are many so places to visit in and around Deux-Sevres, Vienne and Charente, and this post is the first suggestion for a great family day (or half day) out, although this is not limited to families, it’s a wonderful place for anyone to visit. La Vallée des Singes (Monkey Valley) is about 20 minutes drive from Vanzay at Romagne, Vienne, it’s a lovely drive cross-country through winding lanes and woodland.
The most surprising thing about Monkey Valley is that it’s in the heart of agricultural France and has been created in 15 hectares of woodland. Started 10 years ago, there are now over 350 primates living here made up of 30 species, it’s described as a unique animal park with no cages or barriers, the primates live in the woodland and on islands. It has been beautifully and thoughtfully landscaped with canals running throughout. You pass through gates into each section, where the smaller primates run free and amongst the visitors.
The larger primates including the gorillas and chimpanzees live on their own island spaces and do not come into direct contact with the visitors, although you can get close to view them. The feeding times are always very interesting and informative, the staff will give you the history of the animals and how many have been born that year.
The organisation works very closely with conservation groups around the world, assisting with breeding programs and trying to repopulate rainforests with animals that had been devastated by deforestation. The chimpanzees were brought from a laboratory in the Netherlands to spend the rest of their lives together peacefully on their woodland island. They certainly seem to enjoy their home, the noise they make when they are chasing around after each other is something else!
The male gorilla is an impressive sight – he weighs more than 200 kilos!
There’s a children’s farm onsite with many breeds of chicken, ducks and pygmy goats. There’s also a restaurant and a play area.
If you’re looking for a holiday home to explore the region from, click here.