As zookeepers raced to round up the animals, armed police surrounded the popular attraction and sealed off nearby roads.
About 50 baboons were reported to have got out and congregated around the Grand Rocher, the fake rock centrepiece of the zoo, on Friday morning. Most had been rounded up and sent back to their shelters a few hours later, but four remained on the loose.
Officials at the zoo said the animals had not come in contact with the public as they had remained in areas inaccessible to visitors.
Members of the public had been evacuated as a precaution because baboons could be unpredictable “especially when stressed”. “They’re stronger than us,” they added.
The emergency services were called, and keepers, vets and a team carrying tranquilliser darts were on the scene in minutes and surrounded the animals.
The zoo said it was confident the remaining animals would be persuaded to return to their enclosure. “The dominant males have already gone back,” an official said.
The park in Vincennes covers a 14.5-hectare area on the eastern edge of the French capital. It reopened in April 2014 after a €133m (£116m) facelift. Clever landscaping, including fake rocks and boulders, acts as a trompe-l’œil to disguise that the site’s 1,000 animals and 180 species are in captivity.
The Grand Rocher, which was built to conceal two water reservoirs and resembles the backdrop to a King Kong movie, dominates the skyline and is the symbol of the zoo.
More about: #Paris-zoo