Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature: Not Your Standard Natural History Museum

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Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature: Not Your Standard Natural History Museum
Some museums get under your skin. They are those you never tire to see, again and again. Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Museum of Hunting and Nature) does that to me, and I could not be happier that it has finally reopened after an almost two-year-long hiatus, expanded and more interesting than ever. 18th-century still-life paintings of animals. © Sarah Bartesaghi Truong This museum, housed in two magnificent 17th- and 18th-century mansions in the  Marais, was born out of one man’s dream and determination. François Sommer, born in the Ardennes region to an industrialist family involved in textiles, volunteered in the French Resistance in 1940, becoming a decorated pilot. After the war, he went back to work for the family business, establishing a reputation as a progressive entrepreneur who cared deeply about his employees. The Stag Room. © Sarah Bartesaghi Truong Besides flying, he had another passion, hunting, perceiving this sport as a way for man to commune with nature. This is why, with the help of his wife Jacqueline, as soon as the war ended he worked tirelessly to reintroduce several species of big game in his countryside estate in the Ardennes forest, an area that had seen the stock of deers and mountain sheep decimated to feed a starving population in the middle of a war zone. Antique hunting weapons. © Sarah Bartesaghi Truong A true visionary, Sommer was also instrumental in developing the first natural reserve in Chad, Africa, as early as 1950. Moreover, capitalizing on his ties to President Georges Pompidou, a good friend and hunting partner, he successfully lobbied in favor of a dedicated ministerial post focusing on ecology. The courtyard of the Hotel de Guenégaud. © Sarah Bartesaghi Truong
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Lead photo credit : Taxidermy mounts at Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature. © Sarah Bartesaghi Truong

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Sarah Bartesaghi Truong has lived, studied and worked in Milan, Paris and London. Her lifelong passion for art in all its forms and her entrepreneurial dreams were the catalyst for a career change: she left the world of investment banking to go back to school, at the Sotheby’s Institute of London. Ten years ago, she moved back to Paris, the ideal location for an art-lover. As an Italian in Paris, she decided she would keep playing the tourist in her adoptive home town, always on the lookout for the many wonders the French capital has to offer to the curious explorer. VeniVidiParis, the company she founded, plans curated itineraries in the French capital and its vicinity for travellers wishing to discover the city’s vibrant art scene, but not only. Take a look at her recent discoveries on her Instagram feed, @venividiparis, or contact her at [email protected] for help planning your next Parisian vacation.

Comments

  • Hazel Smith
    2021-08-03 10:25:52
    Hazel Smith
    I loved this museum when I visited in 2018. Odd yet beautiful. The installations at that time were fantastic.

    REPLY

    •  Sarah
      2021-08-04 03:04:23
      Sarah
      I agree with you, not the standard museum, but to me it feels like the epitome of the city of Paris, a mix of old and new, happily coexisting side by side and endlessly inspiring!

      REPLY