Sunday, December 25, 2011

into the wild

How, you might ask, do Parisian parents entertain their children over Christmas break?  Some head to Deyrolle, as we did, on Tuesday.  Welcome to the weird and wonderful  (PETA members take heed), where barnyard animals, woodland creatures and savage beasts all mingle together with astonishing ease.

window deyrolle
all i want for christmas…. 

Deyrolle is a very special place; a zoo of sorts for the living dead, though not nearly as macabre as it sounds.  Part taxidermy shop, part museum, it is a shrine to birds, bugs, reptiles and all manner of (once) living mammals.

deyrolle birds welcome to the weird and wonderful

Though we discovered the shop several years ago, this was our first Christmas visit.  The main level is a relatively unassuming garden shop, with little to indicate the strange and curious world which exists just one floor above.  We mounted the winding staircase, greeted at the top by a hand-hewn wooden table set for Christmas dinner, its many guests decked out in fur and feather finery, frozen in time as if they will spring to life any moment.

photo 2 dinner is served

We slowly moved from room to room, taking it all in with equal parts awe and morbid fascination.  I like to tell myself that every animal died of natural causes.  My backup excuse is that these must be relics from a bygone era.  Some of them surely are.  What I find most astonishing is the fact the all the animals in Deyrolle are available for purchase.  I kid you not.  From the smallest shiny beetle to the adorable baby elephant, you can take anything in the shop home with you, for a price. 

elephant dumbo immortalized

Annabelle wanted to drop 20 Euros on a colorful butterfly but wisely decided otherwise, seeing as we can easily stop by and visit whenever we get a hankering for the absurd.

deyrolle annabelle shellsdeyrolle giraffeblue butterfliesbutterflies 
deyrolle: the animal activists’ nightmare

Next door to Deyrolle is ‘a nom de la rose’, beautiful floral shop specializing in none other than the ubiquitous rose.  Their simple, vibrant arrangements speak for themselves.

DSC_6240 a rose by any other name…

We had lunch at a charming corner cafe, where I finally satisfied my longing for a hunk of red meat.  As luck would have it, my steak came with a side of frites (fries) and a hunky French waiter.  Annabelle was happy, I was happy.  It seemed an appropriate meal to follow up our visit to Deyrolle.   

DSC_6234 two happy carnivores

In other news, Annabelle is over the moon because I bought her a turtleneck.  I have never been a fan of the turtleneck.  It’s the name, to begin with.  Then there’s the feeling they give me of being strangled or of having my head lodged in a small opening.  Maybe it conjures up suppressed memories of being stuck in the birth canal… who knows.  I don’t like them and I don’t understand the French people’s obsession with them.  Regardless of my opinion, Annabelle desperately wanted one because, according to her, ‘all the kids are wearing them’.  I relented.  She’s thrilled.  I’m complacent.

DSC_6239 all the cool kids are wearing them


  1. And she, like her mama, is adorable! Turtleneck and all! :)
    -P. Oines

  2. Annabelle,
    It's wonderful to see that you're having a terrific time in Paris! Your pictures and posts are taking me back to the trips I took there with my parents at your age. In fact, I've been to this exact taxidermy shop many times and even bought some wonderful preserved snakes for my aunt who was a biology teacher at the time. Imagine explaining it to the customs agent:)

    Thank you for sharing all of your adventures and everyday happenings so that I may live vicariously. Happy holidays. We miss you at McGilvra! Rebecca Pleasure

  3. Hi Rebecca,

    Wow, thank you for sharing your stories about Europe- How very special to hear! I will definitely relay your message to Annabelle. She will be so happy to hear from you! She just said last week that she misses you very much. I honestly doubt that the art classes at her French school will hold a candle to yours.

    I am so glad that you are reading and enjoying the blog. We miss you!

    xo Sarah and Annabelle

  4. We found that shop on our last visit while wandering the 6th and 7th. Definitely my favorite part of Paris!

  5. Hi Kimberly,

    So good to hear from you and so glad that you are enjoying the blog! We hope you will visit us in Paris...

    xo Sarah