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One of the oldest museums in France is also one of the earliest cabinets of curiosities in Paris. If you’re looking for an out-of-the-ordinary experience, take a guided tour of this venerable institution and its astonishing collections. The eerie mix of art, history and anatomy may make you feel like you’re in a Tim Burton movie.
This extraordinary museum is housed in the school of veterinary medicine, created in 1766 under Louis XV. It was the second veterinary school to be established in France (and in the world). Named after the school’s first anatomy professor, Honoré Fragonard, the museum contains thousands of human and animal remains, many of them showing symptoms of diseases or genetic mutations.
This rather gruesome display of anatomical oddities includes a two-headed calf, the human mermaid, a ten-legged sheep, weird-shaped monkey skeletons and the infamous écorchés (flayed figures) – skinned cadavers transformed into macabre artworks by Honoré Fragonard himself. Was he a genius or a madman?
The museum, not to be confused with the other Fragonard museum, has been housed in and run by the veterinary school (Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire d’Alfort) since it was created.
Photo : Christophe Degueurce, Jebulon