Natural History Museum

Jardin des Plantes, Paris - France

I found my favorite museum in Paris, and it's not the Louvre!  The Natural History Museum sits at the edge of the Jardin des Plantes, which is one of Paris's most beloved parks.  The museum itself feels like an old university, with lofty ceilings and flaking paint on the walls.  It's the perfect place to spend a rainy afternoon, reading the labels on the 1000+ specimens.  Some of the pickled animals are arranged in unintentionally comical poses.  There was a pig fetus with its hand on its hip, and its expression looked a bit smug... 

The museum is three stories high, and the top floor feels like an explorer's club.  There are old wooden cabinets, skulls behind glass, handwritten notes, and a wrought iron staircase ascending to an upper balcony.  The tall windows look out over the park adjacent, and when the building is shrouded in fog, you want nothing more than to curl up with a cup of tea and a book.

The best part?  It's free if you're under twenty-six!