Unusual things to do in Provence: Visit Turtle Village

Not another hilltop village!

Now don’t get us wrong, we would happily potter around the hilltop villages of Provence, endlessly browse the Saturday markets and sit by Le Lac de Sainte Croix , quietly with a good book or magazine. But there is a chance that the kids are about to stage a RIOT!

Not ANOTHER hilltop village!!! They all look the same! They are all at the top of hills! Can’t we stay by the pool? This holiday is soooooooo boring!

And to be fair to them I remember that feeling well myself. So today we are suggesting something a bit more unusual.

Turtle Village

How about a trip to the  Village des Tortues (Turtle Village)? It is the only specialist turtle centre in Europe and houses over 2500 turtles and tortoises!

Turtle Village

A bit more about it

The village is a scientific association run by naturalists to protect the turtles and the entrance fees and shop sales are used to support the project. It isn’t a commercial enterprise which we liked and felt happy to be supporting. All of the turtles of Turtle Village are given by private individuals, or seized by customs. They receive over 1500 turtles each year which amazed us because it seems such a huge number. At Turtle Village they are cared for, sometimes bred, and the hope is always to return them to their native habitat.

What we saw 

One of the first things we noticed was how lovely and shaded the whole spot was. Woodland is much appreciated mid summer in the South of France. Most of the enclosures were easily to get close to, with fencing low, so ideal for kids and adults alike to get a good view. The smaller turtles had more protection from the local wildlife with full screens and a roof. They have both freshwater turtles and tortoises so we enjoyed seeing some of the turtles swimming in the tanks.

turtle village

The kids loved exploring the site and seeing where all the turtles came from. They are grouped by geographical areas and are clearly signposted in English and French. We were suprised to see such varied locations, such as the Balkans, Russia, Madagascar, Senegal, East Africa, and Corsica. One of our favourite areas was the Travel Through Time (Le Voyage dans le temps) section because of the huge models of prehistoric turtles.

Turtle Village

Other Attractions at Turtle Village

The park has a snack café (which was very welcome after an afternoon of running around the village), La Tortue Gourmande, and a number of picnic spots. There is also a play area for small children and a gift shop selling lots of turtle-related items to fill up the car with for the journey home (as if we do not have enough stuff!)

Where is it?

The village is located by the village of Gonfaron in the Var region of France.

1065 route du Lac Carnoules

Opening Times
Open 7 days a week, all year-round from 9h-19h from 15th March – 15th October and 9h30-17h from 16 October – 14 March.

At the end of the day

We left Turtle Village with happy children and had enjoyed doing something a bit more unusual in Provence. It feels good to try new things……Right, tomorrow it is off to Moustiers!

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Copyright: All photos belong to the organisation featured.

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  1. I had no idea this place existed – what fun! Thanks for the info.

    1. Glad you liked it. We try to keep our content fresh and unusual!!!

  2. Turtle village looks so cool! It is great that they have a space to roam around :).

    Nancy ✨ exquisitely.me

    1. It is such an unusual and special place.

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