10 wildlife excursions to try in France

10 wildlife excursions to try in France. Pictured: flamingos wading in Camargue, France.
10 wildlife excursions to try in France. Pictured: flamingos wading in Camargue, France.

France is a great place for wildlife. It has wonderful birds and mammals to see and learn about, if you know where and when to go – and some are surprisingly easy to find. We give 10 wildlife excursions to try now travel within France is possible again - but be prepared for surprises: the movements of wild animals are not always predictable.

Grey wolf

(Loup gris, Canis Lupus)

A grey wolf.
A grey wolf.

Sinister prowler of the hills or conservation success story? You decide. The wolf was declared extinct in France in the 1930s but returned in the early 1990s, stealing through the mountains across the Italian border. Since then, it has steadily moved deeper into central and southern France. Whereas shepherds in eastern Europe have always had to co-exist with wolves, their counterparts in France resent their reappearance. According to the popular press, individual wolves are losing their fear of humans and approaching villages, but the truth is that humans are more of a threat to wolves than vice-versa. You’ll be lucky ever to see one. 

Location: Mercantour National Park (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Alpes-Maritimes).
Watch it: Spotting wolves is not easy but Responsible Travel will do its best to put you in the right place.
More: responsibletravel.com

Brown bear

(Ours brun, Ursos Arctos)

A brown bear.
A brown bear.

The last native adult bear in the Pyrenees, Cannelle (a female), was killed by a hunter in 2004. All the 40 animals that inhabit the Pyrenees are the result of a programme of reintroduction using bears brought from Slovenia. Like the wolf, the bear is a highly controversial animal in France. Shepherds complain that bears sometimes kill sheep but, despite legends, bears are ...

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