Weird and Bizarre Places to Visit in Paris: Dracula Museum and Others - Blaber Blogger

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Weird and Bizarre Places to Visit in Paris: Dracula Museum and Others

If you crave, the bizarre and obscure.
Two places you might like to visit, in Paris.
I am not one to shy away from going to strange and unusual places.  I have been down the Paris catacombs, illegally at night. I have to the Le Musée de l'érotisme de Paris, which quite interesting and surprisingly tasteful.Of course Paris is steeped in history. However there are acouple of places, I found really intriguing.
Dracula Museum

There are many unlikely places, a person might end up at on a warm July evening. Take the line three to the last stop, Mairie des Lilas, take a walk down some rather gloomy roads and you will find yourself in the most unusual museum, with a name that in previous times would have sent a message of fear, the museum of “Dracula”. Dracula was the invention of Bram Stoker, whose novel has been brought alive by many film versions. Though Dracula is a work of fiction, Stoker's inspiration was Prince Vlad III Dracula, also known as Vlad Tepes, meaning impaler. Vlad was a fifteenth century prince from the Wallachian province of Romania, bordered to the north by Transylvania and Moldavia, to the east by the Black Sea and to the south by Bulgaria. This man was noted for his inhuman cruelty.

After some confusion as to the entrance of the museum, we finally hit upon the museum. The soiree was taking place, where poetry and music would be the order of the day to a select audience. The museum has a garden and among other artefacts of significance to the proprietors , are two graves, (superficial I presume). Unlike most museums some of the artefacts are not tended with loving care and the weather in some cases had done its worst, but no matter. Spread about the garden are objects from previous soirees, goblets left unattended. This place has been a bit of a hive of activity and creativity. I have only threadbare information; the event is something to do with a magazine called Salamander. The program is loose and there is much discussion (well this is France).

There are two distinctive Gothic woman, think Morticia of the Addams family, wearing obligatory black, crochet like spider’s web, with long black hair, the colour of ravens. There is a man with a walking stick, with a silver skull motif. There was man wearing a collarless shirt, typical of times of Dracula. The museum itself is not like a museum more a junk shop or curiosity shop. There are leather bound books piled up, Dracula masks liberally left about. The walls are bedecked with paintings or posters of Dracula films, pictures of the likes of Christopher Lee or other portrayers of Dracula. There was an old mirror (I thought Dracula had an aversion to mirrors, but still). Part of the museum is in this dank garden, about the size of an over-sized garden shed.

The second part of the museum, you have to enter this basement, with crypt-like ambiance. The exhibits are crude, imagine blow up dolls that have been re-adorned to create a Draculaesque scene. The “homemade ness” of this museum, is perhaps intrinsic to its charms. It has not a cooperate vision, but it is perhaps a person/peoples utopia/vision of Dracula. There is certainly a surreal ness about the place and some of the people occupying it. Even the trees in the garden have distinctiveness, I often think that branches often mirror human limbs and with these trees, this is the case, had Dali done some tampering/garden work with them? The space of the museum has been used, the exterior walls have been daubed with images, what do the neighbors think, do they stay any kind of time, or is there a constant flow of change?

The organizers seem an amicable harmless bunch, but I wonder why people have a curiosity in the dark side of human nature? They took the opportunity to drink some wine (naturally red) a wine of their own making, a wine full of herbs. I didn’t stay to the culmination of the soiree, some other friends had bolted earlier. I trudged back to the metro, thinking of this oddball collection of people, in a strange environment in suburban Paris and the enduring story of Dracula.


Musée des Arts Forains.

If you ever get the chance try to go to another “private museum” in Paris…Musée des Arts Forains.   This is a private museum of funfair objects located within the Pavillons de Bercy in the 12th arrondissement  (district) of Paris at 53, avenue des Terroirs de France, , with temporary exhibition space at 64, rue des Pirogues de Bercy. It is open to the public by prior reservation.  Last Christmas, I had the opportunity to visit, as for a short time it was open to the public.  The museum was founded by Jean Paul Favand, an actor and antiques dealer, from his private collection. It opened to the public in 1996, and now contains a variety of objects dating between 1850-1950 including 14 amusement rides, 16 fair stalls and restored attractions, 18 sets of historical works, and 1522 independent works. The collections include merry-go-rounds and carousels, German swings, hundred-year-old bicycles, Japanese billiards, a Parisian Waiter Race and a Hooghuys Organ, and the grand vizier Ali Pasha. It is a paradise for people who want to be transported back in time and who have a taste for the bizarre.  On the day we went there was circus performers, including a woman called Zaza.

Francis H Powell, is an author living near Paris, his most recent publication is Flight of Destiny.
Flight of destiny is a collection of short stories about misfortune. They are characterized by unexpected final twists, that come at the end of each tale. They are dark and surreal tales, set around the world, at different time periods. They show a world in which anything can happen. It is hard to determine reality and what is going on a disturbed mind. People's conceptions about morality are turned upside down. A good person can be transformed by an unexpected event into a bad person and then back again to their former state. The high and mighty often deliver flawed arguments, those considered wicked make good representations of themselves. Revenge isoften a subjectexplored.  


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