Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Around Town ~ Cabinets of Curiosities

I enjoy the odd and somewhat creepy things of the world.  So it was with delight that I found Paris filled with purveyors of the odd and creepy.


These places are definitely not on tourist lists of "must see" attractions.  Which means they are commonly left to the locals and serious scientists.

As a measure of how hard it was to find one of the places we visited, I stopped at a cafe to ask directions.  Yes, my French at the time was worse than it is now after two years of living here.  Still, how hard is it to ask directions to the shop with the baby elephant in it?

Pretty hard, actually.

The young people working the counter gathered and talked, rather animatedly, about where this place was, or if it even existed.  After several go-arounds they finally settled on the fact that, yes, such a place did exist and, perhaps, it was just down the street.  They pointed the general direction and wished my wife and I "bon chance".

We walked past the address when Jude said something caught her eye a few stores back.


Back we went and sure enough there was a stuffed animal in the window.  Stuffed, as in taxidermy stuffed.  Yet something wasn't completely right nor expected.  The rez de chaussee held a gardening shop.  In we went to ask for further directions.

Taking a quick look at us, the vendeuse pointed to the staircase.

Lions.  Tigers. Bears.  Oh my!  What fun this!!

Exotic animals, skulls and skeletons, feathers, pinned butterflies and giant beetles, as well as horns from hundreds of African creatures awaited.  Alas, my photographer's heart fell at the sight of clearly posted warnings that photographers and cameras would be netted, subdued with poisoned darts, and fed to ravenous wild creatures.

It mattered little.  The shop was old, well-kitted with great oddities, and completely, utterly, uniquely Parisian.


To those of a similar twist of mind, might I suggest a visit to one of the following fine locations?
[A Flickr set of more fun around taxidermy

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