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Visit France’s most unusual museums

PUBLISHED: 17:24 29 June 2016 | UPDATED: 09:22 30 June 2016

Ferdinand Cheval's incredible Ideal Palace outdoor museum ©Dreamstime

Ferdinand Cheval's incredible Ideal Palace outdoor museum ©Dreamstime

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Fancy something a little different during your next trip to France? Visit one of France’s many weird and wonderful museums

Postman Cheval’s Ideal Palace, Drôme

This totally unique place was imagined and built over many years by a postman named Ferdinand Cheval. After 33 years, he finished building this uninhabitable and ideal palace in 1912, taking inspiration from his everyday postal rounds. It has since inspired many artists and is protected as a Historical Monument since 1969.

The Corkscrew museum, Vaucluse

Located within the Citadelle wine domaine in Ménerbes, this museums exhibits over 1,200 corkscrews dating back from the 17th century to today. The oldest pieces in the museum are entirely unique and beautifully crafted, showcasing the creativity and ingenuity of craftsmen of the time.

Find out everything there is to know about corks in France at Mezin's cork museum ©ThinkstockPhotosFind out everything there is to know about corks in France at Mezin's cork museum ©ThinkstockPhotos

The Cork Museum, Lot-et-Garonne

You may notice a theme going on here…but because opening a bottle of wine is almost an art form in itself, there happens to be a cork museum in France. Through exhibits of old machines and tools, the Museum talks you through the manufacturing process, from picking the bark in the forest to manufacturing the little corks.

The Museum of Records, Vendée

Situated in the town of Aubigny, this museum recollects some of the most impressive records broken during the town’s Festival of Records. 350 records have been broken since the festival started in 1982 and the attempts were supervised by the Guinness Book of Records’ judges. You can see 90 objects commemorating the records.

Pontarlier's absinthe museum ©Alice KershawPontarlier's absinthe museum ©Alice Kershaw

Absinthe distillery, Doubs

Step back in time when absinthe was the most popular drink with French poets and artists and discover this family-owned distillery in the heart of absinthe country. You’ll learn about the process of making the green drink and other aniseed-flavoured liquors and even get a chance to taste some of the products...

The House of a Millions Pieces, Eure-et-Loire

This astonishing house is entirely decorated with little pieces of glass, crockery or bottle caps that were arranged into intricate mosaics on the walls. The house was build and decorated by Raymond Isidore, nicknamed ‘Picassiette’ as he would pick up pieces of glass and broken plates to adorn his house.

The very cool Haribo Museum near UzesThe very cool Haribo Museum near Uzes

Haribo Museum, Gard

If you like sweets then you’re in for a treat at this museum that lets you look into the factory that churns out the French bonbons we know so well. The exhibition takes you round the manufacturing process but also shows you some of the brand’s old advertising posters and artwork. A great outing for chidren (and big kids).

La Familistère de Guise, Aisne

This fascinating site is the brain-child of Jean-Baptiste André Godin, a French industrial and thinker. He created an astonishing miniature city next to one of his factories where workers had everything from shops, schools, a swimming pool, gardens and a music kiosk.

The eerie but fascinating Catacombs in Paris ©ThinkstockPhotosThe eerie but fascinating Catacombs in Paris ©ThinkstockPhotos

Paris Catacombs

The labyrinthine passageways of the catacombs have always been shrouded in mystery. Situated about 20 metres below ground, the ossuary holds the remains of millions of Parisians. Visitors take a 2 kilometre-long tour within the catacombs during what is definitely a fascinating and humbling visit.

The House of Magic, Loir-et-Cher

If you’re visiting Blois, you cannot possibly miss this astonishing museum, if only for the unusual façade which sports mechanical dragon heads popping out of 6 windows every half hour. The permanent exhibition is full of exciting tricks, optical illusions and magicians’ secrets.

Musée des Arts Forains in Paris © Paris Tourist Office - Daniel ThierryMusée des Arts Forains in Paris © Paris Tourist Office - Daniel Thierry

Museum of Funfair Art, Paris 12th

Immerse yourself in the wonderfully colourful and strange world of funfairs. Located in former wine halls, the museum houses thousands of objects related to fairs which have been set up and staged. Visitors can touch and play with some of the objects on display and feel like they are really enjoying a day at the fair.

Cinema and Miniatures Museum, Lyon

Hidden in Lyon’s old district, this odd museum houses two different collections. The first exhibits 100 miniature reproductions of everyday life in hyper-realistic model scenes. The second takes visitors on an interesting exhibition of cinematographic special effects.

Like this? You might enjoy:

10 Paris museums you can visit for free

Fun activities for kids in France

France’s UNESCO World Heritage sites

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