A Paris Institution

This month’s issue of Lonely Planet Magazine has a feature on Deyrolle, the famous Paris taxidermy shop that was frequented by André Breton and other members of the Surrealist group (and which I got to visit with my friend V. in 2009). Here’s an extract from the article (‘the most beautiful interiors in the City of Light’):

… Zebras, lions, bears, birds, and antelope are arranged as if at a cocktail party – the animals’ lifelike air is both disconcerting and droll, as though they had finally prevailed and displaced humans. Woody Allen got the joke and imagined a surralist wedding party in these rooms for his latest film, Midnight in Paris. …

Deyrolle also prides itself on an enduring tradition of protecting nature for future generations. ‘Every animal and insect under this roof was acquired in accordance with the Washington Convention on Endangered Species,’ says Francine Campa, the shop’s deputy manager. ‘We have arrangements with zoos, animal parks and circuses to take animals that have died.’

The shop provides an encounter with the French approach to natural history: the urge to classify and collect in the name of science; a preoccupation with the beauty of specimens and their presentation; and the impulse to combine strange objects and animals in quirky assemblages. Nature should not only instruct us, you sense here, it should also enchant us. …

Sounds like Midnight in Paris might be worth checking out after all!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s