Planches pédagogiques

lojas-esquisitas-deyrolle-It’s one of the most unusual boutiques I’ve visited anywhere. Since 1831, Deyrolle (46 rue du Bac, 7e) has been selling everything you need to outfit a curio cabinet in the best 19th-century meaning of the word. It was considered important for cultivated people to have a collection of natural specimens – shells, coral, birds’ eggs, and maybe even a stuffed beast or two. At Deyrolle, you still can, even if your idea of a stuffed beast includes a bison or a giraffe. If you don’t believe me, you can go on a virtual visit. The first time I saw their window, it was Easter, and they had an enchanting display of bunnies and chicks. When I thought about the fact that they were all stuffed, I was a little less enchanted.

Oiseaux__perroquetsThe boutique had fallen on hard times until a prince came along and awoke it from its slumbers. In 2008, a fire in Deyrolle devastated the cabinet of curiosities, entomology room, and a large part of the historic collection of stuffed animals. Prince Louis Albert de Broglie is known as le Prince Jardinier for his love of heritage vegetables. He also has a line of high-end gardening tools and casual clothing marketed under that label. De Broglie moved his boutique into Deyrolle and restored the whole place.

Paons3It’s kind of a cross between a natural history museum and a shop, except all of the exhibits are for sale. Yes, you can buy that gorgeous butterfly mounted in a glass case and bring that marvelous iridescence home, or if that’s not enough, how about a stuffed peacock, glorious tail feathers on display. (I can just imagine how it would look after my cats got at it!)

Deyrolle wallpaperDeyrolle has also long been known for its planches pédagogiques (plahnsh paid-ah-goh-zjeek), or posters with highly detailed drawings of specimens of the natural world, like the parrots, above. They were so accurate that artists, such as André Breton, Salvador Dali, or Robert Doisneau, collected them for study. Every French classroom was equiped with Deyrolle charts of the natural world. Now you can buy wallpaper adorned with classic Deyrolle images. I think it could look pretty amazing in a study or a child’s bedroom.

51bd5XMU4GL__SL75_Read about Deyrolle and other unique locations:

Quiet Corners of Paris

About Patricia Gilbert

Patricia Gilbert is a French teacher. She's Canadian, lives in the United States, but dreams of living in France. Follow her on Instagram @Onequalitythefinest and on Twitter @1qualthefinest.
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5 Responses to Planches pédagogiques

  1. Ellen A. says:

    Lovely story about one of the more mysterious and anachronistic places in Paris. I especially liked your explanation about how each of the educated families of times past would have a collection of natural exhibits in their homes, as we might today have a collection of pocket watches or snuffboxes!
    One slight discordant note: could we not perhaps just say that the wallpaper would be nice for a child’s room, without specifying it to be a boy’s? Surely we want our girls to be mesmerized by zoology and the other sciences as well.
    So glad you gave us the term for the charming prints and posters that depict the mammals, birds and insects with such antique fidelity. I will now know to ask for planches pedagogiques at the flea market!

    • Point well taken. I have changed the post. Just last week, I was ranting to my husband about sexist children’s clothing. I have a daughter in a male-dominated field, so I should know better! Thanks for calling me on it.

      • sexist swine says:

        Yes, thanks for calling her on it. She’s been cracking down on her angelic husband’s occasional slip so it is somewhat enjoyable to see the tables turned.

      • I liked you better when your nom de plume was Mystery Man.

      • Ellen A. says:

        Ha! Good to see you and your husband can be light-hearted about it. We all fall into old habits of thought and speech from time to time. I’ll have to be on my own best behavior this week too!

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