Donkey Day Out near L’Isle-Jourdain, in the Gers region of the South of France (35 mins from Toulouse)
My kids love being outdoors and doing anything animal related. Me too! So I am always searching for days out or mini excursions that we will enjoy.
Recently I heard of a Donkey farm that was fairly local to me - the Asinerie d’Embazac - which is near L’Isle-Jourdain, and I wanted to give it a try. It is usually open on Wednesday afternoons (from mid March to late December) with the free tour starting at 3pm. Yes that’s right, you get a full 2 hour donkey experience for nothing! In July and August (and some holidays) they run tours on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons. It’s wise to check the opening days and times before you visit.
I took my 3 year old daughter along last week (late October 2018) and we had an absolutely superb afternoon. I highly recommend it, and I really look forward to going back with my nearly 5 year old soon.
I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but it is a small, charming, rural farm. Everyone we met was very friendly indeed. I was just about able to follow the tour in french, but the man who was showing us around spoke a little english too, and there was also someone working there who spoke good english so I could clarify and ask any questions if I wasn’t sure I had understood. It was interesting, so this was really useful.
At 3pm we were gathered in the car park and headed to the stables… but en-route (to the sheer delight of my daughter) we stopped to meet (hold and cuddle!) some rabbits! (I forgot to tell her that the bunnies were actually for sale at €10 each - mummy brain!).
Then the main event… the donkeys.
Oh my girl was in heaven! She said hello to them all. Met some babies, and an old donkey that was blind in one eye (who she was particularly fond of). Heard them “hee-haw”. She could stand on little ledges outside the stable doors, or I lifted her up, and she stroked them. Then she was off helping herself to different brushes and grooming them all one after the others. That kept us busy for a good while!
Then we went and explored outside, where we met more donkeys and some chickens too.
The small group of us were then invited inside a stable with a donkey, where everyone could get really close and pat and stroke it.
Then, it was really interesting to not only see the donkey be milked, but also for all the children to have a go themselves!
And of course afterwards we all had a taste of our freshly obtained donkey milk. I wasn’t too keen on the taste, it was very sweet , but we had no waste as my daughter happily drank the rest of mine after polishing off hers!
Then we had a demonstration how they make soap including the donkey milk! It was fascinating. I had completely lost track of time at this point, and to look at my watch to note we had almost been there 2 hours, and my daughter was engaged and interested the whole time - is frankly quite an achievement for my very bubbly 3 year old!
After this we went into the little donkey cosmetics shop. They don’t just sell soap, but creams and masks as well. And it smells gorgeous. I bought myself a bottle of the body lotion and it really is superb (it cost me €16 for 100ml). My skin feels like silk after I have put it on. My daughter close a small clockwork donkey toy for a few euros, which she is utterly delighted with!
So it really is a complete win-win of a place to visit, a little bit different and with something for everyone!
It was a genuinely interesting and novel experience for a 3 year old and a 30 something year old alike. I think it would be a lovely afternoon excursion for any age visitor and I highly recommend it.
Here is the website again where you can find the address details: https://embazac.com/la-ferme/
Do let me know if you go and enjoy it too.