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Natural History Museum

Get a closer look at the stuffed animals and other unusual items found by French explorers during the 18th and 19th centuries.

The Natural History Museum has roughly 10,000 pieces from naturalist and ethnographic collections. It is based in a large stately building with a colonnade, many windows and a stylish front garden. Enjoy traveling through time as you venture into various eras and see artifacts that range from stuffed animals and bizarre fish in jars to tribal attire.

A large proportion of the collection consists of stuffed animals, insects, fish and mollusks. Peruse the array of unusual animals, some of which are now extinct. Imagine what the world would be like if these creatures still lived today. Many of these specimens date back to the early 1800s, yet remain well preserved.

The museum aims to display the collections in a way that makes you realize how strange the world must have seemed to French explorers centuries ago. See the drawings and plans they made for their trips and discoveries. Appreciate the lifelike appearance of a zebra, gorilla, anteater, polar bear, tiger and many other wild and exotic beasts.

See the first giraffe that ever visited France. A gift from Egypt to King Charles X, it walked 500 miles (800 kilometers) from France’s southern coast to Paris and attracted a lot of attention on its journey.

Discover the collections of items that belonged to indigenous groups encountered by the French explorers. Peruse sculptures and costumes and learn about their roles in tribal religions and societies. See a voodoo doll and a two-headed statue among the intriguing artifacts.

The museum is open to the public from Tuesday to Sunday year-round. During the week, it opens from morning until early evening, with longer opening times on Saturdays. There is an admission fee for adults; students and those under 18 enter free. The first Sundays of the month are free for all.

Find the Natural History Museum in the center of the city. Use the free parking in the Esplanade des Parcs or on several nearby streets. Walk from the old port or rent a bike from one of the “vélo jaune” stations.


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Best Lodging Options Near Natural History Museum

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Lagrange Apart'HOTEL - L'Escale Marine CA $74
Lagrange Apart'HOTEL - L'Escale Marine

Lagrange Apart'HOTEL - L'Escale Marine

     
    3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this residence is within a 10-minute walk of Musee des Automates and Aquarium La Rochelle. Vieux Port and Port des Minimes are also within 1 mile (2 km). La Rochelle Station is 11 minutes by foot.

    Hôtel Résidence de France CA $131
    Hôtel Résidence de France

    Hôtel Résidence de France

       
      5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly La Rochelle hotel is located by the ocean, within a 10-minute walk of La Rochelle Central Market and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 10 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 17 minutes.

      Escale Rochelaise B&B
      Escale Rochelaise B&B

      Escale Rochelaise B&B

      33 Rue Albert 1er, La Rochelle
         
        0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this bed & breakfast is within a 15-minute walk of Natural History Museum and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 6 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 21 minutes.

        Villa de Buzay
        Villa de Buzay

        Villa de Buzay

        11 Rue Amos Barbot, La Rochelle, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Natural History Museum and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 8 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 20 minutes.

          Hôtel Le Champlain CA $136
          Hôtel Le Champlain

          Hôtel Le Champlain

          30 Rue Rambaud, La Rochelle, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Charruyer Park and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 9 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 20 minutes.

            Beautiful Charentaise House of 250m2 in Hyper-center of La Rochelle
            Beautiful Charentaise House of 250m2 in Hyper-center of La Rochelle

            Beautiful Charentaise House of 250m2 in Hyper-center of La Rochelle

            33 Rue Albert 1er, La Rochelle, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
               
              0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this holiday home is within a 15-minute walk of Natural History Museum and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 6 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 21 minutes.

              Novotel La Rochelle Centre CA $138
              Novotel La Rochelle Centre

              Novotel La Rochelle Centre

                 
                4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                This family-friendly La Rochelle hotel is located near the airport, within a 15-minute walk of Charruyer Park and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 13 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 20 minutes.

                Beautiful Studio, Comfort and Design, Hyper Center
                Beautiful Studio, Comfort and Design, Hyper Center

                Beautiful Studio, Comfort and Design, Hyper Center

                8 Rue Delayant, La Rochelle, Nouvelle-Aquitaine
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in La Rochelle City Centre, this historic apartment building is within a 15-minute walk of Natural History Museum and Vieux Port. Aquarium La Rochelle and Port des Minimes are also within 3 miles (5 km). La Rochelle Porte Dauphine Station is 8 minutes by foot and La Rochelle Station is 21 minutes.