‘Free as a bird…’, I thought to myself while staring at the enthralling ballet in the sky. ‘How I wish I could be as free and light as they seem…‘ Somewhere in the county of Ain, in Villars-les-Dombes, halfway between Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse, lies a nest of a world without borders – The Bird Park (Parc des Oiseaux).
Throughout the 35 hectares of parkland, an 8-hour-long walk at least was awaiting to take me on an ornithological and botanical world tour, passing through Africa and Europe, and flying all the way across Asia to reach Oceania and land back in South America. In just a day, I walked through so many different birds’ habitats, discovering countless various landscapes and sceneries, where plant life was changing at each new step I took. The replicas from the five continents immersed me in what is home to one of the largest and most exclusive collections of birds in Europe.
All living in total freedom, the 3,000 specimens from over 300 different species of birds kept flying above my head, forcing me to quit looking down and look up instead – somehow forcing the magic of a daydream to happen. The park and its feathered inhabitants had a lot to offer my eyes and heart, taking my whole soul on a peaceful journey back to the wild, in constant connection with nature.
The hummingbirds’ aviary allowed me to get very close by tiny, cute and brightly-coloured birds, and I loved the positive and colourful vibes of the parrots, without forgetting to mention the grace and magic of the birds in the Flight Show…
🦆🐥 Practical information 🐣🦅 The Bird Park in Villars-les-Dombes, halfway between Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse, in the heart of la Dombes in the county of Ain (Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region), is open everyday from 8 April until 12 November. How to get there? By road (there is a paved carpark with shade that is free for park visitors): - 30 minutes from Lyon on the A46, take the exit for Villars-les-Dombes (15 minutes) - 1hr 30min from Genève and Annecy, on the A40, Pont d’Ain exit (30 minutes) - 30 minutes from Bourg-en-Bresse - 1hr 30min from Chambéry and Grenoble, on the A43 toward Paris, then the A432 (towards St Exupéry airport), third exit Villars-les-Dombe By train: - 30 minutes from Lyon Part-Dieu to Villars-les-Dombes, and approx. 20 minutes walk from the station By bus: - with OUIBUS: Download timetable