On a tour of some unusual museums in France!

Inspiration

ParisLyonProvenceShopping and French Savoir Faire

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Reading time: 0 minPublished on 4 January 2023, updated on 16 April 2024

While museums such as the Louvre, Versailles, Rodin, Orsay are names you instantaneously associate with France, there are a number of lesser known museums that are worth visiting for their own quirky qualities. Here are 6 unusual museums in France that might catch your attention- beware, some of them are not for the faint-hearted!

Musée Miniature et Cinéma in Lyon

Are you someone who’s been fascinated with the art of special effects? Or would you like to see a miniature version of the world around you? The Musée Miniature et Cinéma museum in Lyon allows you to discover two unique and unusual collections: the countless secrets of special effects in cinema and the art of miniature.

If you’re into movies, then you can find characters from Mrs. Doubtfire, Spiderman, Star Trek, Star Wars, Chucky, a whole lot of original cinema objects like prostheses, miniatures, masks, animatronics, costumes as well as cool videos that reveal the “making of” stunts and sets.

The permanent miniatures collection features more than 100 ultra-realistic miniature scenes created by miniaturist artist Dan Ohlmann as well as other European artists; 1 / 12th scale reproductions of our living spaces. Don’t be fooled though, the models are so realistic that the only way their illusions can be broken is by the addition of the artist's body, whether that's his head poking through to admire the model, or just by way of his hand, adding or removing furniture.

Absinthe Museum in Auvers-sur-Oise

In the small town of Auvers-sur-Oise, about an hour’s drive in North of Paris, the Absinthe museum celebrates the “Green Fairy” – the anise-flavoured alcoholic spirit known as absinthe. Wildly known for its purportedly hallucinogenic properties, it was a popular choice of drink among French poets and artists in 19th century Europe; it was banned in France in 1915 for its alleged reputation for causing insanity. In the museum you can find rooms of memorabilia documenting medicinal origins to its mythical legacy, the ban and the final legality. There is also other fun stuff like absinthe-related objects, a replica of a 19th century Parisian bar, along with posters and paintings of drinkers enjoying the potion.

Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures in Paris

This museum is every macabre-lover’s dream! The Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures boasts a spooky collection of mummified cats, Dracula toys, and vampire killing kits and is run by an expert scholar on all things “vampire”- Jacques Sirgent on an appointment-only basis. Sirgent is a fascinating storyteller who will take you through tales of the mysterious relics and creepiest objects acquired second-hand by a range of mystic sources that his private museum contains. You’ll be thrilled (or not) listening to him talk about the cemeteries where vampiric rituals were once practised as well as the everlasting superstitions of the undead. Got goosebumps already?

Corkscrew Museum in Vaucluse

Find out everything there is to know about corks in France by visiting the Corkscrew Museum or Musée du Tire-Bouchon, nestled in surroundings of Domaine de la Citadelle, a wine estate in Vaucluse, Provence. Here you can admire a private collection of 1000 corkscrews from around the world, from the 17th century to today. Originally, it was Yves Rousset-Rouard, a film producer, who, while strolling through an auction room in Paris fell under the spell of a rare lot of 200 corkscrews which he purchased. The collection is now enriched each year with new treasures; the oldest piece is French and dates back to the 17th century. From an early hand-forged steel corkscrew to works of art in solid gold, as well as ivory and silver corkscrews- the museum is a great way to witness the creativity of the craftsmen of that time.

Haribo Museum in Uzès

It’s candy shopping time! A visit to Haribo museum or Le Musée du Bonbon in Uzès, Provence, begins on a sweet note; you are provided a bag of sweets in exchange of your entrance fee. From seeing the process of how candies are made to discovering the ingredients used in their preparation, you won’t be disappointed here! There is also a section that talks about vintage Haribo adverts and one on iconic French posters. And for the most satisfying part, the museum shop is where you can pick up all kinds of Haribo sweets, some of which you may not find in general supermarkets in the country. Say oui to sugar rush!

Museum of Automatons in Souillac

If you’re one with an overactive imagination, then tread cautiously when you step into the Musée de l'Automate- for when you walk through the collection of these automated and mechanical toys with eerily realistic faces, you will feel their eyes staring right back at you! This tiny museum located in Souillac, Dordogne, has around 20 scenes featuring automatic puppets in 7 rooms; like "The Magic Flute" by Mozart, Guignol, and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" by Victor Hugo or even a full jazz band from yesteryear to modern robots- all with impressive life-like movements.

By France.fr

The magazine of the destination unravels an unexpected France that revisits tradition and cultivates creativity. A France far beyond what you can imagine…