Taxidermy habitués, history buffs and all-round eccentrics will adore this historic private museum, examining the relationship between humans and animals via a curious collation of paintings, sculpture, tapestries, goldsmithery, weapons, trophies, armour and more. The quirky, astonishing Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (or Museum of Hunting and Nature) is the perfect place to hunt for a good day out.
Opened in 1967 by a couple of avid hunters and conservationists, the museum is housed in the elegant C.17th limestone Hôtel de Guénégaud, and its C.18th neighbour. Archi fans will love the heritage building, with its ornate wood-panelled rooms decorated with bronze vines, antlers and tree branches. Chambers sport titles like Room of the Boar, Salon of the Dogs, and Cabinet of the Wolf, with contemporary installations including a cabinet display on unicorns and a ceiling decorated in owl feathers.
The jaw-dropping permanent collection of stuffed creatures and trophies – from polar bears to bison, foxes and birds – is surrounded by hunting kit (including guns, hunting horns, and spears), decorative items and artworks (spanning wallpaper, ceramics, rugs, furniture, objects, photos, videos, and gold dog collars). Combining pieces from antiquity to the present-day, it’s a magical mix that will amaze kids and adults alike.
Current exhibitions include French artist Marlène Mocquet’s enchanting childlike-monstrous contemporary paintings, drawings and sculptures in En Plein Coeur (until 18 Jun) and Animer Le Paysage: Sur La Piste Des Vivants (20 Jun-17 Sep), exploring the landscape.
Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature / 62 rue des Archives, 3rd / +33 1 53 01 92 40 / 11am-6pm Tue & Thu-Sun, 11am-9.30pm Wed / chassenature.org