Paris is never short of wonderful Galleries and Museum, but my favorite is hands down the beautiful yet misterious Galerie de Paléontologie et d’anatomie Comparée (Gallery of Palaeontology and Comparative Anatomy) located in Jardin des Plantes near Gare d’Austerlitz. For those who have visited most of art galleries and museums in Paris and want to see similarly (or even more) interesting collection of objects, this is the place. I mean, I’ve seen the Monalisa once and once was good enough. These bones tho.
The first time I stepped into the museum, I felt like five year old again when everything is massive and magical and… and… Awesome. I literally stood there with mouth gasped open, almost teary eyed from excitement… exactly the same expression of the little kids who came with their parents there. They have the excuse to let out a happy scream though, while I had to resist that urge. Because, uh, #old.
The building is HUGE and beautiful, and it’s a whole art by itself. Made entirely of metal and stone, with exposed beams, large windows with flood of lights, and facades decorated with naturalists sculptures. You’ll feel like you’re transported through time. Most of other galleries and museums in Paris are regularly renovated, but this one has stood strong since 1898 -still dusty and musky in some corners-, and up until today remains to look like a relict of the past era.
Herds of large mammals skeletons were artfully arranged in the middle of the room. While thousand others specimens (smaller animals skeletons, eggs, shells, fossils, etc) were carefully placed inside rusty wooden cabinet of curiosities surrounding the whole space. All the information are handwritten in French and Latin on old information cards, but don’t worry, most likely you’ll know what you’re looking at (and Google translate might come handy.) The marvellous collection will definitely be a stunner for every kid / science enthusiasts / archeology lover / natural history buff as every specimen is in great condition.
Entering the upper floor of the Gallery from the North staircase, I was straightly transported to the eerie world of Jurassic Era. Fossils and skeletons models of real sized dinosaur bones (ok, I actually have no clue whether they’re life sized or not… because they were around about billions years ago? But you got the idea right.) It’s out of this world guys. I looked around and noticed that not only the kids were being mesmerized by the size of this place, but also their parents were equally enraptured.
Similar the ground level, the dinosaur hall is also surrounded by glass cabinets containing fossils models and even real specimens; but instead of wood, they’re made of glass and metals which made them look even darker and more mysterious. The metal arches that decorate the ceiling give a surreal vibe; it’s like stepping into HR Giger’s fantasy world.
One of a lovely childhood memories which I still remember vividly was when I was six and visiting the Zoo in my hometown Surabaya, where I saw a HUGE dugong fish swimming inside the zoo habitat. Looking back, it wasn’t probably that big (it was around three meters long), but for a short six years old, it was larger than life. I remember I was staring at is for a long time, feeling so tiny, scared and insignificant yet so fascinated at the same time, looking at that majesty of nature.
Being in this place was a reminiscence of that memory.
Galerie de Paléontologie et d’anatomie Comparée
2 Rue Buffon, 75005 Paris, France
Opens everyday except Tuesday 10AM-6PM
Some tips and Information:
- Entrance Fee is €7. Reduced price for young people (under 26. Damn. #old) and children.
- I would suggest, like in any other museums, to avoid coming on weekend (less crowd). My first visit was on a Saturday at 4:30 pm, pretty near to closing time (the crowd was okay) They stopped taking admission at 6 sharp but still let the visitors wander around til 6:30. 2 hours was definitely not enough tho. I would suggest you to spare at least 3 hours to really enjoy the whole collection.
- Photography is okay (well duh obviously), but no flash. The place has abundant natural lighting though so your photos will turn out great anyway.