Lille Natural History Museum
An astounding collection of taxidermy, fossils, skeletons, and even a few strange live beasts.
The Natural History Museum of Lille is one of the oldest in France, first opened in 1822 to expand on a local amateur collection of zoological specimens. In the 150 years since its creation, the museum has assembled an impressive assortment of specimens from all over the world, including some of the most remote regions of the globe.
The museum displays a sizeable collection of fossilized ammonites, prehistoric insects trapped in amber, and colorful minerals like emeralds, fluorite, and pyromorphite. There are also several interesting taxidermy exhibits dotted around the halls. They showcase a mummified menagerie of diverse and extraordinary species, from African lowland gorillas to the Australian duck-billed platypus. Huge whale skeletons hang suspended from the ceilings while those of long-extinct mammoths stand below.
But it’s not just dead desiccated critters that can be found in the halls of this intriguing institution; a curious collection of live creatures are also kept here. Some of the animals on display include extraordinary species such as the axolotl salamander, the kingsnake, and a number of tarantulas. There is also an insectarium that exhibits entomological wonders like the orchid mantis, giant rhinoceros beetles, giant centipedes, and giant leaf insects.
Know Before You Go
The Natural History Museum of Lille (Musée d'Histoire Naturelle de Lille) is open Wednesday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on weekends and Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (closed on Tuesdays). The entrance fee is 3 euro.
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