La Palmyre visitor guide

Photo of La Palmyre

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La Palmyre is small town and coastal resort in the Charente-Maritime department north-west of Royan.

It has long beautiful sandy beaches, miles of pine forests to explore, and the best zoo we’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. We’ve been to La Palmyre at least a dozen times and have never been disappointed.

The resort of La Palmyre

It’s easy to park, with loads of free car parking, and there is a huge choice of restaurants, cafes and shops. But it’s not a massive town and everything is so well laid out, with most of the amenities on the way to the three main beaches.

We think that the best beach at La Plamyre is La Coubre, which is in a basin, sheltered from the Atlantic, and you can sit at one of the restaurants/cafes there or on one of the many benches provided, and just watch the boats in the port, or the kite-surfing going on.

There is a lovely lighthouse there, and a huge fun-park and cycle-hire if you need something for the kids to do. But none of it is intrusive, it’s all calm and peaceful and you can walk for miles along the beach boulevard and just admire the fantastic views.

La Palmyre zoo

The zoo is amazing and is open all year round. You can’t miss it on the road going into La Palmyre because of the towering waterfall on your right, surrounded by pink flamingos in the lake below – quite stunning!

There are over 1600 animals and birds there and it is really well laid out. Car parking is free and zoo entry costs around 14 euros for each adult. I’m not a big fan of zoos generally but this one is actively involved in conservation and the animals all looked happy and well cared for.

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The thing that stands out most in this zoo is the open-ness and the proximity to the animals. At one point we were standing a foot away from a huge polar bear swimming underwater in a massive tank. It was positively mesmerising to see this fantastic animal up so close and it was difficult to walk away.

There are stalls there selling a type of snack food for the animals so that you can touch and feed the elephants and zebra’s, providing many photo opportunities. And there is the most amazing silver-backed gorilla, which, I swear, was posing for the camera. He looked at the crowd, got up from a sitting position and proceeded to strike about ten different poses across a tree trunk. We’ve never seen anything like it and all the cameras were snapping ten to a dozen!

We spent about four hours at La Palmyre zoo there and had lunch on one of the café terraces, whilst watching a very amusing sea lion show, and surrounded by beautiful peacocks wandering about. We saw chimp families relaxing with their young; white rhino’s basking in the sun with the zebras; jaguars and lions lazing under trees, and the most magnificently coloured tropical birds sitting in the branches of trees, open to the skies.

La Palmyre is a fantastic place and one to definitely re-visit time and again.

You can find more travel ideas in the Charente-Maritime guide and the Poitou-Charentes guide.

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Map of La Palmyre and places nearby


Visit near La Palmyre with France This Way reviews

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The French version of this page is at La Palmyre (Francais)


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