Deyrolle - Paris, 2009
The smell of the dreadful 2008 fire that almost extinguished this over 180-year-old taxidermy company still lingers in the air, but don't let that stop you from a visit. Part natural history museum, part zoo, and part science lab, the rooms of Deyrolle overflow with mounted butterflies, ostrich eggs, giant bears, seashells, and just about every other natural curiosity you can find, and even as someone who has less than no interest in nature (I grew up in New York--my idea of nature is a hot dog cart), I still enjoyed myself here. At least, I enjoyed myself a lot more than the kid who kept screaming about how he wanted to leave because he was afraid the animals would come back to life. (I hope my standing behind a mounted deer head and whispering "Help me, little boy! Get me down from here! Help me! Please!" didn't have anything to do with that.*)
To be honest, I thought this bag was a little dull considering how legendary the store is, but I have to give them points for the Thin Mint color scheme as it's always been a favorite of mine.
At the moment, you can still see the smoke patterns on the windows outside, but considering that virtually all of France has contributed to its restoration, I'm sure it'll be only a matter of time before the building is spic and span. I did my part by purchasing two overpriced shells that I could have easily found at Pier One, Pottery Barn, any random store in any random Chinatown, or even, say, the beach, but I'm just too darn altruistic for that.
*Of course I'm kidding! What kind of person do you think I am? It was an elk, not a deer.