The Citadel Zoo in Besançon, France Travel

The Citadelle de Besançon, or Citadel of Besançon, is a 17th century fortress designed by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban. Perched at the top of Mount Saint-Etienne, the Citadel covers about 27 acres and it hosts an incredible view of the city below.

The Citadel hosts several museums – the museum of the Resistance, a natural history museum (and zoo), a museum that showcases the traditions of Franche-Comté, an insectarium, aquarium and more. Our visit focused on the zoo, but we ended up spending quite a bit of our time walking the walls and taking in the sights.

Can you blame us?

The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste

The zoo itself was interesting. There was a tank where you could pet coy fish, several large cat exhibits, and many exotic birds. 

I visited with a friend from university, and as we watched one of the lions laze on the ground, a Frenchman sauntered up to us.

“Would you like to see the king of the jungle?” he proposed in French.

My friend and I glanced at one another. “That’s what we’re doing.”

He grinned and said, “I wasn’t talking about the lion.”

My friend was pretty annoyed and told him off, he left us alone to perhaps harass someone else, but it was definitely something I haven’t forgotten!

The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste

The zoo wasn’t too crowded despite there being several schools visiting as a part of field trips. It helped that it was rather large with a lot to see and do. It was definitely one of my favourite places to visit on my trip to East France.

The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste

This guy’s got a baguette. Only in France, right?

The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste The Citadel Zoo in Besancon, France | Eurolinguiste

We wrapped up our visit by having a quick picnic on the grounds, while enjoying the view. It was definitely an incredible experience.

The Citadel
99, rue des Fusillés – F-25 042 Besançon Cedex 3

Hours vary depending on the season

What about you?

What are some of the places you’ve come across with breathtaking views?

I’d love to hear about them in the comments below!



I’m a language lover, traveler and musician sharing my adventures and language learning tips over at Eurolinguiste.

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