I tested for you… A horse-drawn carriage ride to discover the European Bisons!
Did you just say… “Bisons”?
There is a place where you can’t NOT go when you are spending your holidays in Margeride: the European Bisons Reserve.
Nestled 1300 meters high in the very heart of Margeride, near the pretty village of Sainte-Eulalie, this vast 150 hectares area is one of a kind. Here, you are given the opportunity to live an immersive experience and dive into the intimacy of a European Bisons’ herd. The park also hosts American Bisons and some cows of the Highland Cattle Scottish breed.
Beforehand, keep in mind that Bisons are the biggest mammals of the European continent… Now, let’s go to meet them!
First, a little bit of history
The European Bisons Reserve is a sanctuary dedicated to the preservation of the Bisons above everything else. Indeed, the European Bison – a distant cousin of the American Bison – was considered a critically endangered species at the end of the first Word War, with only a few remaining individuals living in the wild inside of the Bialowesa forest, in Poland.
Did you know? 1500 years ago, the European Bisons were already living in Margeride, before migrating to the eastern European forests. It’s even considered to be a prehistoric animal!
As a result of the hard work of devoted representatives and polish naturalists, the reserve opens its gates in 1991 with the objectives of protecting the species, reintroducing it in an appropriate environment, studying it…
Now, time for the visit!
In order to visit the European Bisons Reserve, a reservation is mandatory (by phone or on the website). Indeed, the number of seats inside of each carriage is of course limited. So spare yourself hours’ waiting, don’t forget to book your seat!
Once you have your tickets, you’re awaited on the spot for an one hour long ride with a guide. During winter, when the landscape is all coated with snow, the carriage is replaced by… a sledge! The visit then becomes a good opportunity to discover the surprising sensations of sledging…
Did you know? An adult Bison can grow up to 2 meters high… And run up to 60 km/h… Hence, the importance of listening to the guide’s rules and staying quietly seated in the carriage!
For those who like a little independence, a walking tour is also possible out of the park, with several observation spots.
To sum up, why is it so cool?
- The carriage allows getting closer safely.
- Depending on the season, we can witness the different steps of the life cycle of the Bisons: birth, mating season…
Of course, we take our time: this is a wildlife reserve. The environment of the Bisons is respected, and we sometimes have to deal with not being able to see as much as we would like to. But it doesn’t matter! Let’s keep our eyes wide open to watch the rich and diversified flora and, if we’re lucky enough, the other wild animals that populate the park…
+33 (0)4 66 31 40 40
Europeans Bisons Reserve | 48120 Saint-Eulalie | From 13,50 € / pers. | 6,20€ / child (carriage tour + museum)
When to come ?The Europeans Bisons Reserve is open all year long from 10:00 to 17:00 (or 18:00, depending on the season). The last tour starts at 16:30 (or 17:30, depending on the season). The visits are about 45 minutes to one hour long.