An educational publisher and taxidermist might not top a traveler’s list of can't-miss shops, but anyone visiting Paris without dropping into Deyrolle is depriving their inner child of a strong dose of delight. Loaded with painstakingly preserved animals in dramatic poses that pop against its vivid blue walls, the beautifully restored 1888 showroom’s flair for drama is due to Louis Albert de Broglie.
A French aristo (yes, they still have them) who in 2001 rescued the failing firm—once the number one supplier of science pedagogical materials in the country—he was previously best known for setting up a tomato preserve, with more than 600 international varietals, on the grounds of his magnificent Loire Valley B&B, La Bourdaisière.
Like just about everyone with a Whole Foods tote bag, de Broglie sees the natural world as something worth saving and celebrating; what makes his version of advocacy so special is that the man’s got brilliant, whimsical taste. (Spend five minutes in Deyrolle, and you’ll understand why Wes Anderson and Woody Allen are such big fans.)
Since taking over, he’s started to broaden his vision for how Deyrolle can enhance our relationship to flora and fauna in a more dynamic way. Today the house publishes board and computer games, excellent children’s coloring books, and for the grownups, de Broglie is now in the art game.
One of the side rooms of the famous boutique now serves as an exhibition space, where last year there was a much-talked about collaboration with Damien Hirst: a contemporary cabinet of curiosity that was auctioned off with 50 other small standalone pieces, via Paddle8, to benefit Hirst’s multi-headed charitable foundation, Victim, as well as Deyrolle’s ongoing mission to get the world turned on by nature.
Just a few days ago, it put up the traveling group show Trophies, which will stay until through the 17th of October. A collaboration between the sculptor James Webster, illustrator Juliette Seydoux and photographer Dan Glasser, it’s already brought its collection of ceramic animal skeletons, illustrations, and taxidermy lightboxes to the rare book dealer Daniel Crouch in London, the prestigious Brussels antiques dealer Galerie Desmet, and, in Paris, the very serious sculpture dealer Galerie Chenel.
One doesn’t usually need additional reasons to pop into Deyrolle, but here’s a good one all the same.
Alexandra Marshall is a contributing editor and the Paris correspondent at Travel + Leisure. Food, design, architecture and fashion are her specialties, which means, living in Paris, that she is very busy. Follow her on Twitter and on Instagram.