Tuesday, November 11, 2008


No, this is not a scene from one of the larger than life dreams that has me in cavernous rooms which defy all sense of space, filled with disconnected elements that are really metaphors into my weird and confused psyche.  Actually, this scenario is tame, fun and fantasy like compared to places I visit at night.  Usually, there is no translation available to me on dreammoods.com when I wake up and I am left wondering, 'What the heck was that?'.   The places I go require a bit more information I'm afraid.  Maybe drugs.
Anyway, in honor of the letter D, we are headed to the rue du Bac in the 6th arrondisement and a visit to Deyrolle.

Somewhat hard to pin down, Deyrolle can best be described as a curio cabinet full beasts large and small that have been carefully and exquisitely (if indeed, that is a word one could use in this case) preserved through the process of taxidermy and have been put on display in a beautiful 19th hôtel particulier.  It is odd to see these incredible animals found in the wild, quite at home surrounded by backdrop of gold ormolu, softly colored walls and chevron patterned hardwood floors. But I do believe that is exactly what makes a visit here special--it becomes other worldly. (Since I enjoy things like that, that might explain my dreams!) In addition to elephants and tigers or smaller, safer creatures like butterflies and birds--anyone holding a ticket to a berth on Noah's Ark is here as well.
In February of 2008, this beautiful menagerie suffered a fire that thankfully did not destroy as much as originally thought and brought to light just how revered this most curious of establishments is amongst Parisians.  The owner, Prince Louis-Albert de Broglie, who first visited Deyrolle when he was five and bought it in 2001, has painstakingly nursed it back to its original, if not better self.   Founded in 1831, its contents remain, for the most part, in much the same state as one would imagine back then.  Fossils, geodes, bugs and stuffed animals really don't change all that much.  His commitment to making this shop a Parisian 'phoenix' was successful and the doors are once again open to the public.    

Aside from the lingering 'eau de biology lab' scent that wafts through the air, this is really a most interesting place to visit.  If you are in Paris with kids who have had absolutely enough of Renaissance art or haute couture,  bring them here for an an hour or so to even out the score. There's a gift shop on the first floor that those of you a bit squeamish about having to come face to face with stuffed snakes can spend some time in.   

Additional information:  Deyrolle
                                              46 rue du Bac
                                              Métro: Rue du Bac

Photo credit:  Deyrolle


lins said...

Those creepy deer-people were there when I went! They must have been pulling out all the stops for their re-opening exhibition, because the main room (in your first picture) was FULL of animals. It was creeping me out.

Phivos Nicolaides said...

So interesting post Kim.

La Reine said...

The NYTimes has a great article in today's issue on Deyrolle, with a slide show: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/15/arts/design/15taxi.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=deyrolle&st=cse&oref=slogin

If you can't visit Paris to support the return of this fascinating store, you can support the restoration of Deyrolle buy purchasing the Hermes limited edition scarf "Plumes".