Deyrolle Feels More like a Natural History Museum:
When it comes to the unusual, Deyrolle is perhaps one of the more idiosyncratic shops in Paris. If you’re shopping for a gift that’s a little more unique than what you can find in Galeries Lafayette or the other Paris grand magasins, this shop has stuffed polar bears, zebras, tigers, lions or some beautiful butterflies and insects that would certainly fit the bill. Deyrolle is a taxidermist that has been around since 1831 and the shop is famous with artists, photographers and film makers looking for unusual film sets.
Deyrolle the Taxidermist
If, like me, you are not keen on the sight of angry moose or bear heads snarling down at you from the walls of a room, do not be concerned as the Deyrolle shop is more than a place that’s just full of stuffed animal heads on walls – in fact it feels more like a natural history museum. The founder of the company, Jean-Baptiste Deyrolle, and his son Achilles were both passionate entomologists. When the business was subsequently taken over by Emile Deyrolle, a third generation Deyrolle, he expanded it to include taxidermy at a time when people were very interested in natural history. Emile Deyrolle published and sold books on flora and fauna and the business grew substantially when he developed education charts and boards on botany, zoology,
entomology, geography, human anatomy, etc. And when you have the State as your main customer, equipping all their schools and universities with Deyrolle teaching aids, the business prospered.
In its heydays, famous artists, writers and philosophers used to visit Deyrolle and people like Dali, André Breton and others were frequent visitors.
In later years when the business had been taken over by other proprietors, it went into decline for several years until 2001 when Louis Albert de Broglie bought the company, with the mission to restore it to the magical place it once was.
Louis Albert de Broglie was successful in the restoration of Deyrolle, but in February 2008, the company suffered a setback when a terrible fire damaged the Cabinets of Curiosities, the entomology room and a large part of the historical collections. Fortunately, Deyrolle had a big list of celebrity fans and artists who contributed artwork to be auctioned by Christies. The money raised allowed Deyrolle to repair and restore the fire-damaged areas.
The present-day ground floor of Deyrolle was transformed into a chic gardening store called Le Prince Jardinier by Louis Albert de Broglie in 2002. This concept store created around the theme of life in the garden, offers a selection of high quality items for gardeners and garden lovers.
The more interesting section of Deyrolle is upstairs where the very alive-looking animals appear to be roaming free in the shop. These are the finest specimens of stuffed animals that I’ve ever come across and a fine example of the taxidermist’s craft. In additional to the animals, there are stuffed birds, a huge range of colourful butterflies and insects.
Deyrolle is a popular place with film makers looking for a surreal setting and if you’ve seen Midnight in Paris, you may recall a scene with “Gils” in this shop. Deyrolle is also a popular place for fashion shoots and when we visited there was fashion shoot in progress. Thanks to the film crew, we were allowed us to take a few quick shots, otherwise photography is not allowed in the shop.
Shopping at Deyrolle
The large stuffed animals all come with hefty prices (€22 000 for the adult zebra), but there are smaller items like the butterflies and insects that are more affordable. Deyrolle also sells wallpapers with animal, bird prints, etc. and their teaching aids make nice wall hangings when framed. But even if you’re not looking to buy anything, the shop is interesting to visit and children will love the place.
La Maison Deyrolle
46 rue du Bac