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Nice Côte d'Azur Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau

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Natural and wildlife parks

Basking in the midst of unspoilt countryside with an animal-friendly approach, the Côte d’Azur's nature reserves and wildlife parks welcome in individual visitors and groups alike for a fascinating immersive experience that plunges you into the depths of the animal kingdom: dolphins, orcas, whales, sharks, as well as bison, chamois, wolves, Przewalski's horses, eagles and vultures - take your pick!




The Marineland theme park is the Côte d'Azur's most frequently visited site and one of France's most popular wildlife parks. Established in 1970, today it is home to 4,000 animals living in a 26-hectare space, and offers dolphin, orca and otter shows throughout the day, and into the night come summer. Its pools are filled with natural sea water pumped in from the Mediterranean (just 600 metres away) thanks to a complex high-tech system. The orca area alone contains 44 million litres of water.

Prepare to be dazzled by the orca, dolphin and otter shows, the giant shark tunnel, the aquarium and the polar bears!
1,300 m² kids’ playground and group restaurant in the middle of the park.

-> Marineland is located on the seafront in the municipality of Antibes, 19 kilometres west of Nice


The biological reserve of the Monts d’Azur

This is a far cry from traditional wildlife parks! 
The first nature reserve of its type to be created in Europe, the Monts d'Azur animal reserve brings the public the chance to explore a wildly diverse, untamed fauna as well as allowing the wildlife to roam free over 700 hectares of untouched wilderness.

Bison, Przewalski's horses, deer and other ungulates as well as carnivores and various birds (such as eagles and vultures) all rub shoulders in this unspoilt landscape. 
Here, humans are mere guests invited to watch as daily life unfurls for this European fauna, and to observe the role it plays in the ecosystem.
Enjoy a horse-drawn carriage safari, a stroll or spend a night in an eco-lodge.

- > The Reserve is located in the municipality of Haut-Thorenc, 1,500 m high and 50 kilometres away from Nice. 
Please bring suitable clothing.


The Alpha Park, where wolves reign supreme

A whirlwind tour to find out more about wolves, their habitat, history and how they were reintroduced into France.
In 1992, wolves returned to France in a natural and sustainable phenomenon. 
And it all happened here, in the Mercantour National Park, a stone's throw from Saint-Martin Vésubie.

The Alpha Park was founded to ensure the public are able to appreciate this fascinating animal in the heart of the wolves' territory.

Wooden blinds make observing the wolves easy, 
safe and discreet: three packs of wolves (23 wolves in total) living in semi-freedom,
in spaces bordered by natural vegetation. Events and activities led by the animal handlers and the park's staff allow visitors insight into the culture of this animal that still triggers emotions and reactions to this day.

-> The Alpha Park is located in the municipality of St-Martin-Vésubie, 
at an average altitude of 1,500 m, 65 kilometres away from Nice.  Please come dressed appropriately. Average tour times are 2 and a half hours.


Mercantour National Park

The Mercantour National Park is one of France's ten national parks.
It straddles the départements of Alpes-Maritimes and Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.
Come and see a huge range of landscapes, plants and animals that you won't find anywhere else! In addition to its spectacular wildlife, 
the park is a precious source of cultural heritage (the Vallée de Merveilles valley and its engravings).

Stretching across a surface area of 685 km2, the park is home to 2,000 species of plant, of which 200 are rare and 30 endemic, 58 species of mammal (chamois, wolves, foxes, deer, Alpine ibex, mouflons, hares, stoats, marmots, etc.), 10,000 species of insect and 153 species of bird (Peregrine falcons, golden eagle, bearded vultures, black woodpeckers, tawny owls, black grouse, etc.). 

Quiet, observant walkers will probably stumble upon one or the other. 
Although humans are more likely to be seen than see, careful observation reveals clues left behind in a streak of mud or a stretch of snow...
The Mercantour offers a range of different trails to take: from half-day trips 
to East-West excursions across the massif that take close to a fortnight to complete, from Saint-Dalmas le Selvage to Saint-Dalmas de Tende, there's something for everyone here!

> The Mercantour National Park is approximately 60 kilometres away from Nice. 
Its highest point rises up 3,000 metres high.


The Pelagos Sanctuary: Swimming with cetaceans

The Sanctuary is a maritime space that unfurls across 87,500 km2 and was created as part of an agreement between Italy, Monaco and France designed to protect marine mammals in the region. 
Ratified in November 1999, the agreement aims to establish concerted, standardised initiatives between the three countries to protect cetaceans and their habitats from any kind of disruption: pollution, noise, fishing, accidental injuries, disturbance, etc.

Observing cetaceans in their natural environment is a tourism and/or educational activity that is more commonly known as whale-watching.
At the Sanctuary (mainly in the summer period), visitors have a high chance of coming across dolphins and whales just off the French Mediterranean coast.