Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris


Faintly sinister but hugely seductive, this unlikely museum is dedicated to the slaughter and subsequent preservation or consumption of animals: what we call hunting, and the French know rather more romantically as La Chasse.

The museum’’s approach to its subject is idiosyncratic, more artistic than academic: an entire ceiling covered in stuffed owls, animal skulls and droppings in wooden drawers, a unicorn exhibit. A 17th-century building populated by big cats and a polar bear makes a strange refuge from the busy Marais streets, but that’’s what this is, and nowhere more so than the top floor, with its push-button bird calls and replica hunting lodge.

On our recent visit there were few other visitors, just countless lifeless creatures for company, and if that sounds a little ghoulish, it probably should, but the exhibits are so extraordinary and the building in which they’’re housed so beautiful, that gory reality hardly intrudes.

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature 62 Rue des Archives, 75003 Paris
Tue-Sun: 11am-6pm.

Published 6 June 2012

Our guides are printed in England on 100% recycled paper