Paris has an overwhelming number of museums, which can become extremely pricey if you want to visit many of them. Thankfully, on the first Sunday of every month, a ton of museums offer free admission, and that, my friend, is when you should hit the town.
On the first Sunday in July, I visited three museums: Musée des Arts et Métiers (an industrial design museum), Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (a museum of hunting and nature), and Centre Pompidou (Paris’ modern art museum, which I will write a separate post on because I have too many pictures).
I visited the Musée des Arts et Métiers first.
Housed in the deserted church Saint-Martin-des-Champs, the museum currently has 7 major exhibitions: Scientific Instruments, Materials, Energy, Mechanics, Construction, Communication, and Transportation.
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think of it, mostly because I’m not a huge “engineering/science” person. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the museum, as it was very well put together with many exhibits.
The ceiling of the staircase area is quite magnificent (although that contraption reminded me of a pterodactyl more than anything else).
The following picture is of my favorite room in the museum (admittedly because I think the exhibition is really sleek and clean-cut).
I was about to leave when I noticed I had skipped a part of the museum labeled “Chapel.” So, I turned back (confusing the security guard) and headed in that direction.
When you first step in, the chapel looks fairly normal. Stained glass windows, grand arches, you get the point.
But then BAM!
You turn your head and see a model airplane dangling from the ceiling!
And a model of the Statue of Liberty?
Needless to say, I was quite confused and struck by the juxtaposition of industrialism and religious setting. Who would’ve thought that they would/could house an entire plane and automobile exhibit in a deserted chapel?
Also housed in this chapel area is a Foucault pendulum.
Afterwards, I decided to go to the Museum of Hunting and Nature. Now, if it hadn’t been for “Free Museum Sunday,” I admittedly wouldn’t have gone, as my interest in the subject of hunting is near non-existent. But, as it was rather close by, I thought “Eh, why not?” and headed over.
Now, I thought the chapel was weird, but little did I know, I was heading to a whole ‘nother level of strangeness.
The first few rooms of the museum were ornately decorated and filled with paintings depicting the act of hunting/nature. Eh. Nothing too strange here (although I remember it being abnormally hot in these rooms).
(Side note: quite patriotic, am I right?)
(Side note: I can imagine this clock eerily ticking, reminding the animals that their times are up…)
Next was the hunting tools section. Here is a wonderful collection of rifles (how fun..!). And look at those scary wolves painted above the case. We’re bordering on creepy/strange now.
But then…you hit the taxidermy section, and that’s when you’ve crossed the border into creepy land.
Oh, look, ’tis your typical stuffed warthog! A lovely decoration for your dining room!
And a duck…
Now what respectable family doesn’t have two stuffed bears in their house?
Just when I thought I was getting used to the amount of stuffed animals, I stumbled into a preservation room where there were intestines and brains and arms and hearts and every single possible body part floating in yellow-ish green liquid in jars.
I did not take any pictures of those, so forgive me.
And then, the finale…A WHOLE ROOM SHOWCASING TAXIDERMY!
Just imagine the next picture but on all four walls of the room.
At this point, I decided that I had had enough and that I should be heading home.
So, were these two museums my favorites? Not quite (my favorites are coming soon). But, I’m still very thankful to have been able to go, as I never would have if it weren’t for “Free Museum Sunday.”
Plus, there’s no denying the uniqueness of these two museums.
Would you visit?