Monday, February 9, 2009
Because we're nerds
It will probably come as no surprise that we visit a lot of museums in and around Paris when we have the time. As a museum capital we have a fine selection of every type of museum one can think of, from the small and eccentric (Museum of Cast Teeth) to the grandiose and internationally renown (Louvre, well, did I need to even mention that?). This weekend we went to see the Galerie de Paléontologie et Anatomie Comparée a building constructed at the beginning of the 20th century by Frederic Dutert, situated by the Jardin des Plantes.
Really, this is one of my favourite types of museums. When you walk in you feel as if you entered into a great cabinet of curiousities where the animals are on the loose. It's the stuff you imagine in films (as you can tell the place is extremely photogenic). The exhibits don't look like they've been touched in a hundred years but manage to still maintain a modern dynamic feel about them. The details of everything from the exhibit stands to the vitrines to the handrails are exquisite and just as interesting as the numerous skeletons, preserved organs, and fossils on display.
A place like this draws you in, walking around taking in the smells (dusty, worn wood stain, slight camphor) the light (large windows at a clerestory height allowing in abundant natural daylight on the first floor and a skylight for diffused light on the second floor), and the sound of floorboards underfoot...