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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Right now, we’re content with our live version of animal decor…
…but I guess (whisper it) should something terrible happen to your family pet, you could view it as a little less, well, final?