For an extremely pleasant visit when you are in the Creuse department of France, head to the museum of Art and Archaeology of Guéret – lodged at the Sénatorerie Hotel.
The surprise and overall pleasure of a visit of this type, in this relatively unpopular part of France, is that the visit resembles a private tour.
The Museum features collections of art and artifacts of Egypt, China, Japan and from the Gallo-Roman era.
However, the room which caused the greatest excitement in our family: the Room of the Animals (pictured). Measuring around 60m² square, the room is loaded with stuffed animals and thousands of butterflies and insects, including a magnificent set of microscopic sized insects (if you like that kind of thing). Among the attractions: 2 lions, several sharks, an albatross, a variety of crocodiles, a polar bear, an alpaca Llama, many eagles and snakes, a series of birds’ eggs (and the egg of a giant ostrich). There was also the skeleton of a hippopotamus (imported from Congo), and a coterie of the cute lemurs.
Wedged in the corner, but not to be missed, lay the “curiosities” in window #1. Here you will find a calf and a lamb with 2 heads, as well as two tiny pigs with 6 feet.
Meanwhile, the Roman vestiges, all recovered in the area, are very neat and sometimes especially beautiful, and help underscore just how extraordinary and far-ranging this culture was. The exposure of the impressionist artist Guillaumin is well done.
Not to forget the sumptuous surroundings of the museum, with a superb garden. It is a visit “well worth it” — just 6E50 for the four of us. TO DO if you are ever in the neighbourhood!