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Le Refuge de l'Arche

Certificate of Excellence
Features Animals
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Address: Rte de Menil, 53200 Chateau-Gontier, France
Phone Number:
+33 2 43 07 24 38
09:30 - 19:00
Open now
See all hours
Sun - Sat 09:30 - 19:00
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours

unique place in Europe where all the animals have a history. Wounded,...

unique place in Europe where all the animals have a history. Wounded, captured or abandoned animals in the Ark of Refuge had a life before being greeted: today more than 1 200, representing 150 species on 15 hectares. There's no training, no show. But felines, monkeys, reptiles, bears, birds ... that come to life. Quite simply. Created in 1976 by Christian Huchedé, the association Cepan, recognized public utility since 2014, works for three missions: animal protection, social inclusion, public awareness for animal rights. It manages two distinct activities, the Refuge de l'Arche (1 200 animals, 150 species) and the Wildlife and Environment Centre Local Wild "Valentine Perrin and Jacques" (360 animals supported in 2015).

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TripAdvisor Reviewer Highlights

Read all 128 reviews
Visitor rating
  • 7
  • 4
    Very good
  • 1
  • 0
  • 0

We just loved it. What a range of animals and it was just lovely walking around. We saw lots of interesting goings-on with the monkeys and even helped rescue a baby wallaby that... read more

Reviewed 27 October 2016
Bristol, UK
via mobile
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128 Reviews from our TripAdvisor Community

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Showing 12: English reviews
Bristol, UK
Level Contributor
137 reviews
35 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 55 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 October 2016 via mobile

We just loved it. What a range of animals and it was just lovely walking around. We saw lots of interesting goings-on with the monkeys and even helped rescue a baby wallaby that had escaped! It was a fantastic day out and we hope to go back again.

Thank HotelLover2009
United Kingdom
Level Contributor
14 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed 5 August 2015

We have visited this many times, and always enjoy coming here. It is a small zoo with a fun play area, nice cafe and small shop to visit at the end. All purchases support the zoo. What we like about it is the fact that the animals have all been rescued in one way or another, for example from a... More 

1 Thank Emcel
Level Contributor
41 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2015

This is a magical place which makes you smile throughout your visit. All animals are rescued from the plain and domestic to the exotic. Can't wait to go back.

Thank mftwatford
Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 May 2015

Although a little tired, this is well worth a visit, All the animals looked well and I am surprised the range of animals that have been rescued. Unless you go at the height of summer take a jacket with you as it was a little on the chilly side although we had a lovely sunny day.

Thank Penny P
Montreal, Canada
Level Contributor
57 reviews
19 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 18 September 2014

refuge is a sanctuaries for any animal that has been abandoned. They take care of the animals and recreate a safe environment for them. It s a nice place to bring your kids

Thank ceybel t
Level Contributor
18 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 July 2014 via mobile

This place is not a usual zoo. It is rather a sanctuary that takes care of animals abandoned,withdrawn from their owners or being treated. You can see monkeys, snakes, tigers, etc... Just like in a real zoo in the beautiful French countryside. It is very pedagogical as it shows to children (and adults) that animals are not toys and a... More 

1 Thank Agneskl
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
54 reviews
31 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 December 2013

It is tired looking and some of the animals were not in the best condition which was sad to see. However the organisation claims that it is serving a good cause, so in that respect we wanted to support it. If going with young kids, buy the overpriced, salt free, butter free, taste free popcorn to feed to the animals.... More 

1 Thank Bernard K
Level Contributor
37 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed 17 August 2013 via mobile

Great place which can restore your Faith in humanity. The children loved giving the animals popcorn. The toilets and picnic benches were clean and well maintained.

1 Thank nutbrown5
St Helier
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2013

We opted to visit the Refuge de L'Arche as the other zoo's were a bit too far. We were told that it was a bit of a farm with a few animals where you could purchase pop corn to feed the tennants. It turned out to be a really special day and the kids were absolutely mesmerised by feeding the... More 

4 Thank chefpet17
Level Contributor
58 reviews
32 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
Reviewed 11 December 2012

This isn't a zoo, so don't expect fancy animal enclosures etc. It is an animal rescue centre and offers a safe home for many animals and birds rescued from all over Europe. The stories of the animals' lives before they came here can be very sad, so be prepared to be moved.

Thank judithchrisal

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  • Will you pick up and drop off at my hotel?
  • I have a family of 7. Can your tour accommodate all of us together?
  • How should I dress for this tour?