Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Roo! Adventures in the Wild West of the Ile-de-France

My friend V came to visit from the UK the other week and, leafing through my Routard guide to Week-ends autour de Paris, we stumbled across a description of the enticingly named Château de Sauvage, not far from Rambouillet in the Yvelines. In fact, Sauvage is simply the name of the tiny village where the château is located, but it nevertheless lived up to its name. The guidebook referred to an accueil inexistant and it was right: even after we had discovered the rusty iron gate behind which lay the marvels of the park, it took us a while to find anyone to accept 8.50 euro entrance fee indicated on a scrawled sign tied to the tree near the entrance. Admittedly, we weren't trying that hard - we were already letting ourselves be distracted by the fabulous flock of sunset-coloured flamingos on the lake, the displaying peacocks and the emu that was promenading on the paths.

The château park is owned by a conservation association and is essentially a kind of safari park for pedestrians and populated by what appears to be an extremely random selection of animals. As well as the flamingos, there are several other kinds of exotic birds, some unusual species of deer and, best of all, the kangaroos.

I had never seen a real kangaroo before and I was surprised by how small they were. The first ones we saw were just sitting around and not that interesting, although I did think their long tails were fun. Then eventually we saw one hop, which was pretty exciting. The best bit, though, was when we saw a tiny head poking out of one of the females' tummies, and they even let us get close enough to take this video:


Who would have thought such exotic sights were to be seen in northern France in February?

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