Discovering the House of Butterflies
Publish on Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Nestled in a small private house in the Old Town of Saint-Tropez is the Maison des Papillons (House of Butterflies), a museum entirely dedicated to, you guessed it, butterflies. Some 35,000 specimens, from the most common to the rarest, are presented in a creative and original way.
Here you’ll find Lepidoptera of all shapes and colours pinned and preserved under glass. It's beautiful, a little sad, but fascinating. The museum is situated in the former home of the artist and entomologist Dany Lartigue and displays his distinctive and instantly recognisable work. The butterflies are arranged in an artistic way, often being incorporated into Lartigue’s paintings. Here you can spend hours contemplating the beauty of specimens from all over France and from as far away as Asia and Africa. The butterfly aficionado artist painted landscapes to which he added branches, barks, mosses and then his precious specimens of peacocks, cabbage whites, monarchs and various rare and endangered species.
A fascinating and unusual museum visit
Understandably, given its origins, taking a tour of the Maison des Papillons / Musée Dany Lartigue is like visiting an artist’s private residence and studio. You wander among the tables, desks and other furniture, past the easels scattered around. The paintings hanging on the walls almost touch each other, on the furniture books lie open (to pages featuring butterflies, of course!). Next to the engravings are wooden boards where exquisitely coloured specimens in beautiful shades of blue, yellow and brown are pinned. With their stones, flasks, pottery and powders, some of the spaces look like studios awaiting the return of the artist, giving the impression that he has just popped out for a moment. But make no mistake; within a simple exterior the museum houses a wealth of protected Lepidoptera such as the rare black Apollo from the Mercantour National Park.
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