I came across Sightseeing for family in London and I'm really interested in Richmond Park 's deers. Too bad my stay in London will be quite short.

However I will stay longer in Paris and I would like to know if there is any wildlife fauna tourist destination in France that opens in early December.

I will stay in Paris so I would like to have a place that is reachable from Paris, by train at least.

  • By wildlife you mean you would like to see wild animals, right? Nov 1, 2011 at 6:35
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    Could you add details about the kind of fauna you're interested in? For example, birds are one thing, but big mammals such as deers are going to be much more difficult to observe, especially in December.
    – MattiSG
    Nov 1, 2011 at 12:00
  • Any Fauna, for example Eagles/Birds/any mammal in a tourist destination forest will do. I came across this website lost-in-france.com/wildlife-in-france but the website does not explain where to go to see them. Nov 3, 2011 at 7:39
  • Edited answer. Not a very exciting one, but I hope it addresses more of your concerns!
    – MattiSG
    Nov 5, 2011 at 21:29
  • Hey @Rudy, getting back to you — is that answer finally ok or do you want something else? There's still more than two weeks before you go to Europe, so feel free to correct our understanding of your expectations ;)
    – MattiSG
    Nov 9, 2011 at 8:19

1 Answer 1


Parks in Paris' vincinity: Bois de Vincennes and, a bit wilder, the Bois de Boulogne. Even though large and not in Paris center, these are both city parks, and you should not expect anything wild there.

Closest “real” forest to Paris: Fontainebleau forest. This one has a few deers, but you should not expect to see any (French Wikipédia says less than one per 100 ha…). Boars and badgers are more present, but badgers much decrease their activity during winter. Fontainebleau has birds, but I don't know how many of them are visible in December — I'm not a bird connoisseur, sorry!

Then, pretty much the whole of metropolitan France is accessible by train. If it's for a one-day visit, go to Burgundy, which you can go deep inside in less than 2 hours by TGV (express train network). Small stations like Montbard would allow you to go in the woods by feet, or to rent a bike at the local tourist office. Walking routes are easy to get at the Office du Tourisme.

There, you may expect all the classical European fauna: deers, foxes, boars, rabbits, hares, hawks, herons, hedgehogs… and cows and snails (local specialties ;) ). But with their usual visibility in wild places, that is: very little chance you encounter any.

You could get some really nice sights in the Pyrénées, in places such as Orlu, that also have wolves in semiwild environments… but in the mountains, in December, animals don't spend their time wandering around! Moreover, getting there will start to get long. You could do it with a night train from Paris to Toulouse, then a TER from Toulouse to Ax-les-Thermes (2 hours), but it's really not worth it in this season.

In the end, I can only say that December is not a good time to observe wild animals in Europe (I guess someone could give a list proving the opposite but, as a non-professional-but-nature-loving-hiker, I can only say I haven't seen anything exciting beyond boars and foxes in winter, and they really came as surprises).

  • I think the OP is interested in wildlife, meaning wild animals. How likely is that in the areas you've listed? Nov 1, 2011 at 6:34
  • Yeah right, with the latest revision mentioning deers, it's more explicit… I'll add details about fauna a bit later. But seriously, the main problem will be about the time of the year: big mammals simply don't spend their time walking around in December…
    – MattiSG
    Nov 1, 2011 at 11:58
  • That's true but wildlife can be seen also in special places including zoos. I recall seeing some large mammals in a zoo or something similar in St Galen in Switzerland in the winter, I think on the day of the first snowfall which was pretty special. Nov 1, 2011 at 12:06
  • Oh. So the English “wildlife” also includes life that's not wild anymore?! Zoos also count? Sorry for my misunderstanding. That changes the potential answers a lot. I'll let the OP precise his expectations, or maybe someone else who knows more about places with encaged animals will show up.
    – MattiSG
    Nov 1, 2011 at 12:11
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    Hi all, when I wrote this question I thought wildlife = "Fauna that live freely and not inside cage/zoo". For example is Richmond Park 's deers (they are located inside a park but they free to roam within that huge park). Never thought it will create so many confusion. So sorry about that. Nov 3, 2011 at 7:34

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