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Weird and Surprising Places in France

Salut !

As you know, I don’t (yet) do tourist stuff on Comme une Française TV. I don’t share the cutest cafés and restaurants and unknown bars in Paris and France. Maybe one day, but not now.

Today, if you’ve already seen the Eiffel Tower and Mont Saint Michel and are looking for more exotic places, I’ll be happy to share a few.

Les catacombes
Le Palais Idéal du facteur Cheval
Guédelon
Les Machines de Nantes
Le Musée Fragonard
Le musée Dupuytren

Et toi ?

Did you know these places?
Did you know these museums?
Do you have other similar strange and secret places to share with the community?

We can use the comment area as our own TripAdvisor for secret places!

Bonne journée et à tout de suite dans les commentaires,

Géraldine

Bonus Material: Download the Transcript

Salut c’est Géraldine, bienvenue sur Comme une Française TV, Sound French, even to the French.

As you know, I don’t (yet) do tourist stuff on Comme une Française TV. I don’t share the cutest cafés and restaurants and unknown bars in Paris and France. Maybe one day, but not now.

Today, if you’ve already seen the Eiffel Tower and Mont Saint Michel and are looking for more exotic places, I’ll be happy to share a few.

You will find links about these places below the video.

1. Les catacombes

Let’s start with a very famous one. Les catacombes are really worth seeing if you’re visiting Paris and you’re not claustrophobic or afraid of… human skulls.

Les catacombes (in general) are an underground place in Paris. Where they are used to be a quarry, and now it’s a big maze below the city.

During the 18th century the city emptied le cimetière des Saints-Innocents and moved the bones to les catacombes, and you can visit this tiny portion of the area. We call this “un ossuaire” : a place where you keep “des os” (We say “un os / des os”) : bones. There are around six million people’s bones there now.

It’s a very special place with millions of bones carefully piled with the skulls artistically posed everywhere. As long as you don’t think too much about the fact that these were real human beings, you can make hundreds of jokes.

/2. Le Palais Idéal du facteur Cheval

Even though I don’t really like Le Palais du facteur cheval, I couldn’t NOT tell you about it. It’s the palace of a postman called Ferdinand Cheval who in 1879 started building a palace, stone by stone, and spent 33 years completing it. When he went to deliver the post on his bicycle, he took a few stones each day, and added them to his castle. He was alone, and he was misunderstood. But he kept going and finished it in 1912.

Un facteur, also called un postier is a postman. Le Palais idéal du facteur Cheval means the Ideal Palace of Cheval the Postman.

It’s completely crazy, with no sense of classical art whatsoever, but it’s big, and it’s there, and it’s definitely worth seeing. Whether you think it’s amazing or just ugly, go and visit it.

3. Guédelon

Guédelon is “un château fort” that’s currently being built using traditional methods. Yes, a REAL château fort, currently being built! How awesome is that!? I’ve been there twice already. And if you live in France, I highly recommend you visit it each year as it evolves. You’ll see “des tailleurs de pierre” (stonemasons), “des potiers” (potters), “des charpentiers” (carpenters), “des cordiers” (rope makers), etc. and bread makers, tile makers, big wood machines, horses… with great explanations and animations. And you can walk around as much as you want.

It’s really awesome and is my favorite place in this episode.

This deserves a full day. Check the weather and the opening times before you go as it’s closed in winter.

4. Les Machines de Nantes

This is something I discovered only this year in Nantes. On an island that used to be a shipyard, there’s a huge artistic project called "Les Machines de l’île." They combined the ideas of Jules Verne and Leonard de Vinci to create huge mechanical animals: an elephant, birds, ants… And now, a big tree with des hérons. There also “un carrousel” with scary fish from the depths of the ocean.

So beautiful, so impressive! And you can get ON and IN the animals. The elephant is massive, walks around the site, and spits water. As it’s a real working project, and it’s changing all the time. Check the opening times and the animals being built at the moment.

By the way, Le Carrousel is NOT only for children. It’s really worth it, no matter how old you are.

5. Bonus : Medical museums

Are these for children? These are not for children. Are these frightening and weird? They are frightening and weird. Are they really messed up? They are. Due to schedule reasons, I haven’t yet been able to visit these, but I’m planning to go very, very soon.

The most famous medical museum and biggest one is Le Musée Fragonard in Maison-Alfort with humans and animals, founded in the 18th century, before the Revolution.

Its little brother is le musée Dupuytren in Paris, about humans only, founded in the 19th century. You’ll see skeletons, bodies in formaldehyde, body parts in formaldehyde, skinned anatomical figures and plenty of medical issues. Weird and fascinating. But weird.

Et toi ? Did you know these places? Which one have you visited? Do you have other similar strange and secret places to share with the community?

We use the comment area as our own TripAdvisor for secret places!

Share your experience (in French if you dare!) in the comments below. We can all learn from your story. The comment section is the best place to start discussions and ask questions!

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Merci for watching Comme une Française TV, sound French, even to the French,

Allez, salut !

Bonus Material: Download the Transcript

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