Our ever ongoing search for fossils led us to the French National Natural History Museum. While not part of the usual list of Paris “must-see” museums, it turned out to be the most fun and the greatest surprise. The metro dropped us off at Gare D’Austerlitz, one of the six large railroad stations in Paris. Originally built in 1840, it, like so much else in Paris, is a sight to behold. And it was easy enough to understand the lure such places held for the Impressionist painters while pausing for a look around.
A short walk brought us to the Museum, in whose lobby entrance sat this wonderful marble sculpture of Evolution upended! This particular building, the Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy, housed the largest public display of invertebrate fossils I’ve ever seen. And while I was delighted to see so much in one place I was overwhelmed by its other collections – the vertebrate fossils, the nearly thousand skeletons, the rows of animal skulls, etc. I thought I dropped off into some Tim Burton daydream!
The Main Gallery is a Noah’s Ark of skeletons of all shapes and sizes all moving in one direction.
I did say we went for the invertebrate fossils, didn’t I? Perhaps not nearly as odd and as gripping as the above images, the fossils alone would have made the trip a success. Here now are some of what we found.
Subsequent posts will have much more from this wonderful museum. The architecture, the detailing, the many other strange and interesting items on view – all to come.
We went to the Louvre. It was wonderful.
We went to the Musee D’Orsay. It was spectacular.
We went to the Orangerie. It was delightful.
But nothing compared to the surprise of this museum. Instead of hushed tones and silent nods of approval we gasped at every turn and giggled at our good fortune to be there to witness all that this museum held for us.
Baguettes in the park nearby, a couple of cafe cremes to wash them down and we were off to continue our adventure. We didn’t know what we would find the rest of that day but at that point it didn’t really matter. We hit the mother lode already with these fossils and bones.
Much more to come.
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