48 rue du Bac
Paris, France

Paris, France: The old curiosity shop


Butterflies of every stripe and swirl. Insects that specialize in camouflage. Periwinkle, Scotch Bonnet and Lightning Whelk seashells. Stuffed lions and zebras.

This could only be Deyrolle in Paris, which, since 1831, has specialized in the wonders of the natural world. No matter how often you visit, there are new drawers to open, new discoveries to make.

Louis Albert de Broglie, from an old and distinguished French family, did a major career switch 15 years ago from banking to gardening, earning the nickname from friends of Le Prince Jardinier. He bought Deyrolle in 2001, giving new life to the fading landmark, and installed Le Prince Jardinier line of gardening tools and accessories (now expanded to include things like candles and perfumes) into the shop.

In 2008, a serious fire nearly destroyed Deyrolle. It's no exaggeration to say that M. de Broglie rallied France to help save the beloved curiosity shop. Companies like Hermès pitched in, as did dozens of artists who contributed artworks that were auctioned by Christies to help rebuild Deyrolle.

Today Deyrolle is nearly back to its old self. That means new generations of kids, along with their equally wide-eyed parents, will continue to be amazed by—and respectful of—what can be found in every corner of the world.

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