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Deyrolle: Rue du Bac’s Temple of Taxidermy

Photo courtesy of Deyrolle.fr
Photo courtesy of Deyrolle.fr

While taxidermy has become trendy of late, there is only one place that has been using naturalized animals to lure clients since 1831. Nestled on the charming Rue du Bac, Deyrolle is a shop unlike any other in the world. Part store, part museum, part gallery, the much-loved shop houses a variety of formerly-living merchandise and other “natural curiosities.” From a perfectly preserved giraffe (25,600 €), to a levitating meteor (1,230 €), to a myriad of colorfully preserved butterflies (various prices), Deyrolle offers clients the opportunity to own a slice of the natural world. It’s no wonder that many Parisians claim this shop as the site of their most distinctive childhood memories…

Photo by Martin d'Orgeval

Photo by Martin d'Orgeval

When a fire during the winter of 2008 threatened to end the store’s 177 year history, the “Deyrolle community” rallied to save the institution. Thanks to the combined fundraising efforts of art collectors, local financiers, French luxury brands, and other Deyrolle devotees, the shop has been nearly fully restored over the past year.

In April, the “cabinet de curiosités” re-opened, and over the course of the coming year, it will serve as an exhibition space for artists whose work explores the natural world. The first exhibition—Touché par le Feu (Touched by Fire)—aptly features French photographer Martin d’Orgeval’s photos of the Deyrolle fire’s aftermath.

Photo by Martin d'Orgeval

Photo by Martin d'Orgeval

In a powerful homage to the items that were destroyed, his photos smolder with quiet intensity, exploring the paradoxes that Deyrolle has always embodied—the space between life and death, between dream and reality, between science and art. (D’Orgeval’s photos are on display–and on sale– at Deyrolle through May 6th. His book, also entitled Touché par le Feu is on sale as well.)

Today, we can rest assured that the fire that threatened to destroy Paris’ beloved Deyrolle will soon be just a small piece of the shop’s enduring story.

Guests at “Bac Penthouse w/ Terrace” are located  in the building right next to Deyrolle.

Deyrolle, 46 Rue du Bac 75007, Paris. Tel : + 33 (0) 1 42 22 30 07.

Hours: 10am-7pm (Tues-Sat), 10am-1pm and 2pm-7pm (Mon). Closed Sundays.

Fabulous vacation rentals in Paris, Provence and Tuscany: haveninparis.com
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Written by Tory Hoen

Tory HoenAfter attending Brown University and spending two years in New York, Tory bought a one-way ticket to Paris to pursue her dream of becoming a writer (and of drinking wine at lunch). During her time in the City of Light, she chronicled the euphoric highs and the laughable lows of ex-pat life on her blog, A Moveable Beast. Though she's now based in New York, she travels frequently to Montreal and Brazil, and she'll use just about any excuse to jet to Paris ("I ran out of fleur de sel"). A regular contributor to Hip Paris, Tory also writes for New York Magazine, Time Out New York, and she is a co-author of Gradspot.com's Guide To Life After College.

Website: Tory Hoen

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