Deyrolle: A Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities

When the legendary Deyrolle was decimated by an electrical fire in 2008, everyone in France and beyond rallied to the rescue of the beloved French institution. From the government, to Hermès who reissued a limited edition of its famous Plumes scarf to raise funds, to artists around the world who donated works to sell. Thanks to this assistance and more, owner Prince Louis Albert de Broglie was able to reconstruct Deyrolle once again as a glorious study and celebration of nature for more generations to enjoy.

Deyrolle A Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities

While not all of us are in Paris for the many design events this week, we can take a vicarious visit to one of the city’s most acclaimed destinations in this beautiful new book.  In the same charming slipcased format as A Day at Château Vaux-le-Vicomte and Fontainbleau, this fascinating volume tells both the 185 year old history of Deyrolle as well as the inner workings and future legacy.

Deyrolle a Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities photo © Francis HammondPoised at the intersection of science, education and art, Deyrolle serves as both a (free) museum and boutique, that continues to be “a place for deciphering a world yet to be discovered; a haven of tranquility, where animals and insects rubbed shoulders in harmony.”

A Parisian Cabinet of Curosities - Deyrolle, photo Francis HammondShowcasing the beauty of nature in all its forms, taxidermy (almost all of whom have died from old age or sickness) lives with shells, crustaceans, fossils and minerals.

Deyrolle A Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities, photo Francis HammondOne of the aspects that makes Deyrolle so unique is “the lack of differentiation  between different worlds – sciences and arts, fact and feeling, observation and wonder.”

A Cabinet of Curiosities Deyrolle, photo Francis HammondHere nature unites everything and everyone, as in the entomology room, below, where a lioness welcomes visitors.

Deyrolle a Cabinet of Curiosities, photo Francis Hammond

Deyrolle may be considered a “small museum of great discoveries.” Here the wonder of nature, from vintage books and posters published years ago by Deyrolle

vintage books by Deyrolle, photo Francis Hammond to an enfilade  of a magical menagerie sparks curiosity, questions and dreams.

A Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities Deyrolle, photo Francis Hammond

Deyrolle prides itself on both respecting its heritage as well as moving forward. As de Broglie explains, “Humanity is a threat to the chain of life and Deyrolle, thought to be only a dusty place with the museum style of a bygone age, has taken its legacy of educational charts and turned them into a modern tool to champion major causes relating to the environment, society, civil rights, health, recycling and ecology.”

Prince Louis Albert de Broglie, photo Marc Dantanall photos by Francis Hammond except portrait above by Marc Dantan

You may remember Prince Louis de Broglie, with his brother, is also the owner of Chateau de la Bourdaisiere, which they beautifully renovated as a hotel and experiment in sustainable agriculture. Here his passion for nature thrives with everything from a Louis Benech designed dahlia garden to a walled garden with over 650 kinds of heirloom tomatoes, which in turn inspired his collection of elegant garden tools and accessories, le Prince Jardinier, also sold at the charming Palais Furst in the heart of St. Germain, and this week, Paris Deco Off.


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6 Responses to Deyrolle: A Parisian Cabinet of Curiosities

  1. Diane Martinson says:

    Such a fabulous place!!!

  2. Alan Karlin says:

    Wow, what an amazing place to find the most unique treasures!

  3. It is really an institution in Paris. I haven’t been since before the fire; glad to see it is in such good form.

  4. franki parde says:

    “That” just hit so many of my buttons!! Nature the original designer. franki

  5. sd says:

    It’s like being inside a Wes Anderson movie. Took my seven year old, he picked out a stunning moth – we look at everyday.

    I’m dying for one of those butterfly cloches!

  6. linda haslach says:

    We visited the original Deyrolle Cabinet years ago and were enchanted. As if visiting another time and place. Last night I watched Wonderstruck, also about a cabinet of curiosities, time travel, and a profound appreciation of the natural world. Beautiful acting by some gifted children and Julianne Moore. Worth a look. Thank you, as always, Stacey, for cueing us in to pathways of beauty.

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