Museum of Hunting and Nature in Paris

May 4, 2012 by

In a city so bejeweled with museums, it’d be easy to overlook the Museum of Hunting and Nature. But that would be a shame.

Housed in a restored aristocratic home located in Paris’ Marais, the Museum of Hunting and Nature (or Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature in French) celebrates the relationships between humans and the natural environment, with a focus on the practice of hunting.

The museum was founded in 1964 by avid hunter and conservationist duo, Francois and Jacqueline Sommer. As expected, there is a large collection of antique guns and ornate crossbows on display, but that’s not all. Taxidermy mingles with modern art at this sophisticated yet weirdly wonderful museum.

And while a museum about hunting may not sound totally enthralling, it’s the method of display that makes this one a must-see. One small closet of a room, lit only with a black light, seems ordinary enough, until you crane your neck and notice the ceiling is carpeted with owl heads.

While exploring the African-style trophy room, an albino boar with gnarled teeth catches your attention, bringing you closer, only for it to spring to life via animatronics and speak in a haunting, guttural French, his eyes darting back and forth.

There’s even a display, filled with historical treasures belonging to 17th century scholars, citing the indisputable existence of unicorns.

The Museum of Hunting and Nature is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 11am to 6pm. Admission is 6 euros.

photo credits: Liz Behler

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