#4: Musée Fragonard d’Alfort

musée fragonard d'alfort

Since the last post (#3) focused on something so beautiful, and so perfect; an exquisite cup of gelato, I thought it’d be okay to spring the Musée Fragonard on you now.

Located in on the eastern fringe of Paris, the Musée Fragonard d’Alfort is part of the Alfort Veterinary School, founded in 1766, which is one of the oldest veterinary colleges in the world. Lest you think I’ve got a thing for cadavers of malformed animals and tumorous cow spleens, you’re wrong.

But what I do have is a thing for are very unique places in Paris.

The museum is divided into three areas. In one you’ll find skeletons crammed together, a mad jumble of bones and teeth. Another space is dedicated to pathology, so if you’ve ever wondered what a polyp on a rumen looks like, you can probably find it here. (If you can’t make it to Paris, many of the museums pieces are on display at their site.)

My favorite, and most disquieting, though, is the area dedicated to “Les monsters.” I’ll leave it to your imagination to figure out what they are, but if you want to see how many legs an animal can possibly be born with, if it’s probable for a cyclopic chicken to look both ways before it crosses the road, this is the place to find out.

I know few people who’ve ventured out to this museum, but think it’s one of the truly special places in Paris, a city that celebrates it’s history like few others. That often means one’s able to get a special glimpse into it’s past. While the Musée Fragonard might not be for everyone, for those of you who do venture there, you’re going to see something pretty special. And definitely out of the norm.

Musée Fragonard d’Alfort
7, avenue du Général de Gaule
Tél: 01 43 96 71 72
(Map on site)

Other Paris addresses of similar interest:

Musée de l’Assistance Publique
(Museum of Paris Public Hospitals)
47, quai de la Tournelle
Tél: 01 40 27 50 05

(Famed, and incredible, taxidermy shop)
46, rue du Bac
Tél: 01 42 22 30 07
(Currently rebuilding after a serious fire.)

Julien Aurouze
(Shop specializing in animal & rodent deinfestation, as seen in Ratatouille)
8, rue des Halles
Tél: 01 40 41 16 20

Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature
(Museum of Hunting and Nature)
62, rue des Archives
Tél: 01 53 01 92 40

Claude Nature
(Pristine taxidermy boutique on Left Bank)
32, Boulevard St. Germain
Tél: 01 44 07 30 79

Part of the Five Great Places in Paris That You Might Not Know About Series:

1# La Briciola (Pizza)

2# Dot Paris (Vintage Kitchenware Shop)

3# Grom gelato (Italian Gelato)

4# Musée Fragonard d’Alfort (Veterinary Museum)

5# Goumanyat (Spices & Specialty Foods)

Never miss a post!


  • August 23, 2008 3:29am

    How bizarre and fascinating! I’ll add it to my Paris itinerary, whenever that may be. Thanks!

  • Kevin E
    August 23, 2008 4:04am

    The Musée National d’Histoire Naturelle has some similarly awesome displays of skeletons and monsters, complete with vintage labels, etc. It’s pretty spectacular…

    Some photos:

    Plus, the garden outside had more species of tomatoes than I’d ever seen growing in before in one place. Plus purple chiles! I think my wife thought it odd that I was photographing the labels of tomato plants I wanted to try to grow.

  • August 23, 2008 4:58am

    Kitt: Be sure to call first. Their hours can vary…but it’s worth the trip. The #24 bus goes right there as does the métro.

    Kevin E: I’ve been to their gardens many a time, but never in the museum. It’s on my long list of places to get to around here—and believe me, it’s a very long list!

  • August 23, 2008 5:46am

    Bonjour David

    What a perfectly appropriate post. Today I happen to be making stock, so your choice is tres bien. Do you have any spare bones you’d like to donate?


  • August 23, 2008 7:03am

    Very cool. It reminds me of Gunther von Hagens’ “Body Worlds: The Original Exhibition of Real Human Bodies” that toured the U.S. a while back. Fascinating in a grisly way.

  • Andrew
    August 23, 2008 7:42am

    Mark,you beat me to it… I was going to make a stock joke! When looking at the photo of all the skeletons, all I could think of was stock!

  • August 23, 2008 8:30am

    Quite unusual. Next time I’m there I shall give it a try. On an unrelated note, tomorrow I’m headed for Austin. I googled your gelato recommendation. Let’s see if there is time to give it a try. Thank you David.

  • August 23, 2008 1:03pm

    I would be willing to bet that the words “cyclopic chicken” have never appeared together in print before this post.

    Excellent recommendations, David!

  • oakjoan
    August 24, 2008 2:11am

    Wow! Musee Fragonard was a big surprise! I thought it was just place exhibiting paintings by Fragonard, the famous French painter of lovely landscapes and charming people. Was I ever wrong!

    Regarding Julien Aurouze’s rodent removal store, I originally thought it said “specializing in rodent defenestration.” and had images of workers throwing rats out of windows.

    I think I need a nap.

  • Susan
    August 24, 2008 11:10am

    I guess Paris isn’t as prissy as I imagined! It has it’s own “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” type of museum just like San Francisco! I’ve always been kind of intimidated by the idea of going to Paris, is that strange?

  • Belle
    August 24, 2008 9:09pm

    Are you certain that photo isn’t of models during Fashion Week? ;)