Tim loves to plan a good holiday itinerary. Since our time in Paris was short, we decided to aim for a few choice highlights in those limited hours, and the day’s structure needed some careful mapping. This is why I was a little dubious when he suggested that one of our destinations should definitely be a taxidermy shop called Deyrolle.

On reflection, though, it sounded like an adventure, and featured favourably in a few trendy blogs and guides (but none of the mainstream guide books). Within six hours of being in Paris we had already scaled the Eiffel Tower at night and bought two epilepsy-inducing coloured flashing light souvenir mini versions, so it felt right and refreshing to take a diversion at this point from the tourist superhighway.

There are cute boutiques and pretty façades all along Rue du Bac, but this is the window of Deyrolle, with a clue as to their unconventional wares:

'I just feel a little nervous but I can't quite put my finger on why.' Rodents perch with domestic birds in a window display at Deyrolle

‘I just feel a little nervous, Jacques, but I can’t quite put my finger on why.’ Rodents perch with domestic birds in a window display at Deyrolle, unaware of the prowlers below

 

Precarious afterlife for these pretty birds as cats prowl tantalisingly close

Precarious afterlife: an aspect of dinner for this feline group

The downstairs felt like a National Trust shop, with calendars, lavender bags, and gilt-rimmed mugs. The boys circled dangerously close to a large vase and dried flower display, fuelled by their sugary second breakfast, and I started to plan a swift exit. However in the corner of the room was a wooden staircase up to the first floor, so we coralled the energetic limbs and mobilised upwards.

Imagine the joy of this friendly chap’s greeting as we reached the top:

Salut! Hairy bear-y welcome

Salut! Hairy bear-y welcome

This classically decorated Parisian apartment is home to a diverse crew of creatures, caught as if on pause in a nature documentary and transplanted to a surreal urban ever-after.

How the antelope feels

How the antelope feels

Two rooms of mammals and birds lead to an extensive collection of butterflies and bugs, populating wide drawers in huge wooden cabinets. The knowledge that you are in fact in a shop gives an extra frisson of excitement…. You know, if I wanted, I could buy that polar bear (€30,000) or that guinea pig (€300) or that giant moth (€30 – realistically I could actually afford this one, although the accompanying box frame is a further cost), I’m engaging in retail therapy in a museum.

Would you mind just moving me a little to the left? I have finished reading about coral now

‘Would you mind just moving me a bit to the left? I have finished reading about coral now’

Tempting as it was, we decided in the end not to purchase a former beastie: it was the beginning of our road trip, and I wasn’t sure how suitable an environment the inside of our Renault Espace would prove to be for two weeks in the south of France in the summer.

I didn't realise it would be this sort of party: eclectic group socialise at Deyrolle

‘I didn’t realise it would be this sort of party, Maude.’ Eclectic group socialise at Deyrolle

 

Designers and artists are incorporating furred and feathered features within all sorts of furniture and as stand-alone pieces for the discerning home designer, as this Financial Times (£) article attests. It is a step on from our trophy heads, creating a cluttered and nostalgic setting as a gesture against the stark lines of modern design. I’ve seen Alex Randall’s Squirrel Wall Lights featured in many design blogs recently, and there are many other variations on this theme if you start looking.

Wearing their burdens lightly: Alex Randall's Squirrel wall sconces

Wearing their burdens lightly: Alex Randall’s perky wall sconces

Right now, we’re content with our live version of animal decor…

Lotus lives life on the edge

Lotus lives life on the edge

…but I guess (whisper it) should something terrible happen to your family pet, you could view it as a little less, well, final?

 

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