The creepy but fun Museum of Burgundian Life

Written by on May 13, 2014 in Burgundy, Museums and Châteaux

dijon museum 5

Not to be missed on a visit to Dijon is the unusual and fascinating Musée de la vie Bourguignone – the Museum of Burgundian Life.

Entry is free and the museum is tucked away in rue Saint-Anne, a little side road just off the main centre – and it really is well worth a visit.

I popped in on a Saturday afternoon whilst following the owl trail, a self-guided tour around the city. I’m so glad I did because not only is the museum located in a Monastery dating back to 1787, it is packed with unusual exhibits and fabulously reconstructed old shops from the 19th and early 20th centuries amongst much else.

dijon museum shop front

The receptionist gave me an English language document and I pretty much had the place to myself – or at least I thought so when I went into the first room. It was filled with artifacts from 19th century scenes of daily life. Whole scenarios were laid out with life sized models of people dressed in full costume and going about the daily business of living.

dijon museum models

A child played with an early walker fashioned from wood, families sat around an oven in a kitchen, ladies sewing, men looking important – typical every day scenes from the 19th Century in full costume. The room was quite dark, silent and had an air of ghostliness to it. Suddenly one of the figures moved, I let out a gasp of shock, my heart beat like an electronic drum on override – until I realised it was in fact one of the museum guards. “Zut alors” I said with relief, but the guard was not amused and gave me a stern look as I hastened into the next room.

old French hairdressers store

The second of three floors of exhibitions is dedicated to gorgeous old shops complete with shop fronts, windows, doors and all. The interiors have been recreated using original items in the most enormous detail, chemists, a chocolate shop, hairdressers, a laundry, furriers, hat shop, grocer and butcher , photographers, biscuit shop and more. An entire street full of beautiful shops of yesteryear – and all original.

It’s a great little museum, crammed with unusual and fabulous displays and free to visit – allow about an hour, more if you like to drool over costumes and old shops full of awesome products.

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