Cambron-Casteau Travel Guide

  • Abbey of Cambron
    Abbey of Cambron
    by BeChar
  • Lemurians
    Lemurians
    by BeChar
  • Paradisio: Birds of prey
    Paradisio: Birds of prey
    by BeChar

Cambron-Casteau Things to Do

  • BeChar's Profile Photo

    by BeChar Updated Sep 22, 2005

    "Let yourself be touched by nature" says Paradisio advertisement. On the domain of the ex- Abbey of Cambron, a large area has been arranged into a nature park including many walking pathes, lakes, children playgarden and many animals.

    Discover:
    1. The oasis, for an animal safari in subtropical atmosphere (Pic 'Oasis')
    2. "Nosy Komba", the island of lemurians (Pic 'Lemurians')
    3. The whaler "Mersus Emergo", and the exhibition "SOS Biodiversity" (Pic 'Whaler')
    4. Open-air show of birds of prey (Pic 'Birds Of Prey')
    5. "Hidden beauties": rattlesnakes, cobras, vipers, scorpions, spiders, ...
    6-10, See next TIP.

    Every day, from 26/03 till 06/11/2005.
    18,50 EURO (13,50 EURO children), parking 3 EURO.

    Park Paradisio: Map Lemurians Paradisio: Paradisio: Birds of prey Paradisio: in the Oasis
    Related to:
    • Zoo
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Aquarium

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  • BeChar's Profile Photo

    by BeChar Updated Sep 21, 2005

    Discover (cont'd):
    6. "Nautilus", a fascinating aquarium;
    7. More than 80000 plant species. In particular, there are 300 years old planes, that were pruned in candelabra shape by monsks;
    8. Bird species in a Marshland zone;
    9. A playground, with tables around to eat pic-nic or ordered dishes/drink;
    10. New activities, like "Dream of China", currently realised by chinese workers...

    from 26/03 till 06/11/2005.
    18,50 EURO (13,50 EURO children), parking 3 EURO.

    Paradisio: Nautilus: Aquarium Park Paradisio: oriental Plane Park Paradisio: Marshland Park Paradisio: Playground Park Paradisio:
    Related to:
    • Zoo
    • Aquarium

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  • BeChar's Profile Photo

    by BeChar Updated Sep 21, 2005

    The Abbey of Cambron was founded in 1148, by monsks belonging to the Cistercian Order. During 5 centuries, the monastery amassed wealth from gifts and work. In the XVIIth century, the war with Louis XIV caused the abbey to decline. Later, the First French Republic crushed the abbey under huge taxes so that in 1797, the monsks left the abbey and the property was bought by a rich family to transform it into a residence domain.

    The site was classified in 1982 and acquired in 1993 to create Paradisio.

    On the domain of the abbey, you will notice (see pictures):
    1) The entrance, rebuilt in 1720, after Louis XIV ordered an attack in 1690 due to the abbey's hospitality to his ennemies. In the niche over the gate, there is a 16th century statue of the Virgin Mary (protecting Cistercian abbeys).

    2) The monumental stairway, built in 1776, testifies the taste for luxury of the monsks of Cambron. When Emperor Joseph II saw it, he said: "This stairway is one of the finest in Europe but I doubt that it leads to heaven!".

    3) The ruins, especially at the place of the Bird of prey show.

    4) The tower (1774), only remaining of the abbey church. It is 40 m high and can be seen from very far.

    5) The Castle, currently used to host "Nautilus", the fascinating aquarium.

    Abbey of Cambron: entrance Abbey of Cambron: stairway to gardens Abbey of Cambron: ruins Abbey of Cambron: Tower Castle of Cambron
    Related to:
    • Architecture

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Cambron-Casteau Tourist Traps

  • Pococurante's Profile Photo

    by Pococurante Updated May 3, 2009

    Parc Paradisio is a former Benedictine abbey that has been transformed into a zoo annex children's park. We visited beginning of May 2009 on a good day - not too many visitors and good weather.

    The main reason why I classed this as a tourist trap is the steep price versus the sad level of service offered by Parc Paradisio. We paid €19,80 per (adult) person but had to add € 4,00 to this for the parking fee. I found this preposterous, especially considering that the parking lot was nothing more than a field covered with gravel. If Parc Paradisio were in the middle of a metropolis with excellent connections to public transport I could understand. But it is located in the middle of nowhere about a 50KM drive from most bigger cities, partly over a net of small country roads.

    The park itself is quite big but for regular zoo visitors holds but a few highlights. There are many animals running around freely, some a bit more exotic, like a wallabi or some beautiful blue pearl hens (if that's the correct term). Otherwise this is a pretty standard zoo, with the difference that the animals live in cramped conditions.

    Almost everything in Parc Paradisio could use extra maintenance. Everywhere roads indicated on the map were closed off, making a planned complete tour of the facilities a trying experience, even more so as one of us was in a wheelchair. The train was not driving, which was probably a euphemism for "not fixed in time". Everywhere there were broken things, doors out of hinges, handrails promising a nasty fall if used as support, etc..

    Add to this the long waiting queues to get year tickets, the stinking toilets, the restaurant with its uncleaned tables and trash lying everywhere on the ground. All this made it for me the ideal tourist trap.

    One last remark: if you have children they will probably notice none of this and have a grand day.

    Unique Suggestions: Try to go early or late in the season. We heard that May 1st (a special holiday) the park was simply overflowing with visitors. The day after (a "normal" saturday), the park was crowded but not too full.

    Fun Alternatives: This region is economically not very developed, which from a tourist point of view makes it quite interesting because much of the countryside and the villages remained quite authentic. I recommend taking it easy and driving the byroads instead of the main roads. There are many little picturesque corners to discover.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Theme Park Trips
    • Zoo

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