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Welcome to Yuan Meng, Our New Baby Panda and ‘A Dream Come True’!

The ZooParc de Beauval, 40 km south of Blois, merits a top spot on any Loire Valley visitor’s to-do list, especially now that you can pay a call on its newest arrival, an adorable little black and white baby panda, born just last year. So come meet Yuan Meng – Chinese for ‘A Dream Come True’ and his mother Huan-Huan - in person! But don’t wait as this cuddly little soul, now an international celebrity, will be in residence for only two years before heading back to his homeland.  
Yuan Meng will be joining the ranks of the over 10,000 other animals happily at home in their natural habitat at the ZooParc de Beauval. This 35-hectare nature reserve, listed among the 10 most beautiful zoos in the world and now the 15th most-visited tourist site in France, offers its residents the chance to enjoy an exceptional quality of life in a setting resembling their real-life surroundings.
Take a day – or preferably two – to travel across the continents, from China’s mountainous region to the African plains, with manatees, white tigers, crocodiles and gorillas as your companions and you’ll get a refreshing new take on zoos and how wildlife can be successfully integrated into our environment.
The Beauval ZooPark is in heart of the Cher Valley region, known for its rolling landscapes of vineyards, troglodyte cliff dwellings, lovely little villages, and easy-going way of life. But it too has its share of hot spots to visit for a unique and offbeat experience:
Tour the troglodyte galleries and its underworld wine cellars with Stef, also known as the ‘cave man’, at Troglo Degusto, for a quirky blend of history and wine. Stop at the Château de Selles-sur-Cher, a real gem and certainly the most unusual chateau in the region, and don a pair of 3D glasses for an exhilarating journey through time. If you’re feeling adventurous, canoe-kayak downriver and you’ll land at the beach in Montrichard, a charming medieval city, perfect for exploring on foot. Be sure to schedule a stop at the Caves Monmousseau, the town’s star attraction, and an absolute must for wine lovers. You’ll be treated to a surprising exhibition of luminous tapestries retracing the history and the origins of these underground cellars, and an astonishing visual and musical tour along the river.
And don’t forget raise a toast in honour of that cute, cuddly baby panda!
Accommodation nearby
Are you looking for a hotel, bed and breakfast, campsite, gite or traditional horse-drawn caravan? Discover all our accommodation ideas for your stay in the Loire Valley.