THE THOIRY GROUP
In 1968 Paul de La Panouse opened the Thoiry Zoological Park on his family estate in the grounds of the Chateau de Thoiry (Yvelines). It was a revolutionary project. He reversed the role between visitors and animals in his drive-through safari: the visitors were locked in a "cage" (a car) whilst the animals roamed freely around them. Defying scientific opinion at the time, he put several species of African herbivores together in the same large territory.
Paul de La Panouse repeated this concept at the African Reserve of Sigean (Aude, 1974) and the Peaugres Safari Park (Ardèche, 1974). In 1999 he opened the mediaeval themed Parc et Chateau du Colombier.
The Thoiry Group currently has five parks. The most recently acquired is Zoo Santo Inácio in Portugal.