Musée Fragonard d’Alfort (Veterinary Museum)
Ugh! Animal skeletons, skinned cats, a camel’s stomach and a partially flayed 200-year-old horse and its rider are just some of the rather grim exhibits at this veterinary school’s museum. Info: Métro Alfort - École Vétérinaire (line 8). In the suburb of Maisons-Alfort/Métro Alfort-École Vétérinaire. Located in the National Veterinary School. Open Wed and Thu 2pm-6pm and Sat and Sun 2pm-6pm. Closed Aug. Admission: €7, under 26 free. www.musee-vet-alfort.fr.
Cimetière des Chiens (Dog Cemetery)
The French love their dogs (and cats) so much that they have an entire cemetery with some elaborate memorials to countless poodles and even Rin Tin Tin. How totally French! Info: In the Asnières-sur-Siene suburb/Métro Mairie de Clichy (line 13). A 15-minute walk from métro on rue Martre, left at end of the bridge Pont de Clichy. Located along the river. 4 Pont de Clichy. Tel. 01/18.104.22.168. Open Mar 16-Oct 15 10am-6pm, Oct 16-Mar 15 10am-4:30pm. Closed Mon. Admission: €3.50, under 6 free. See photo above by Tommie Hanson/Wikimedia Images.
Les Egouts (The Sewers)
Why would you want to visit the sewers of Paris? Many do, despite the smell (especially bad in summer). You can visit the huge underground passages in the bowels of the city (no pun intended), a museum, and view a film. Info: 7th/Métro Alma-Marceau. Pont de l’Alma (opposite 93 quai d’Orsay). Tel. 01/22.214.171.124. Open 11am-5pm (May-Sep until 6pm). Closed Thu, Fri and most of Jan. Admission: €4.40, €3.60 ages 6-16, under 5 free. See Eiffel Tower Area Map.
Grim, strange and claustrophobic. Beginning in the late 1700s, six million people were deposited in what used to be stone quarries. It gets even creepier. The bones are arranged in patterns. Not for everyone. Info: 14th/Métro Denfert-Rochereau. 1 place Denfert-Rochereau. Tel. 01/126.96.36.199. Open Tue-Sun 10am-8:30pm. Closed Mon. Admission: €12, under 18 free. www.catacombes.paris.fr. See Montparnasse Map.
Chapelle Notre-Dame de la Médaille Miraculeuse
(Chapel of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal)
Catherine Labouré was a young nun when she claimed that the Virgin Mary, dressed in a white silk dress, visited her (four times in 1827) to deliver a design for a holy medal. Go figure! Catherine’s body is here in a glass cage. The spot where the Virgin Mary is said to have sat during her visits is a place of veneration. You can buy a rosary or medal in the courtyard (they actually have a machine that dispenses these souvenirs). Another glass cage holds the body of St. Louise de Marillac (one of the founders of the Daughters of Charity). St. Louise is still wearing her habit. Info: 7th/Métro Sèvres-Babylone. 140 rue du Bac. Open daily 7:45am-1pm and 2:30pm-7pm (Tue 7:45am-7pm). Admission: Free.
Around the corner is La Congrégation de la Mission (Congregation of the Mission). Here, the waxed corpse of St. Vincent de Paul (known for his charity) is found in an ornate glass-and-silver casket above the main altar. If you like this sort of macabre stuff, you can climb the stairs and get a close-up view of his body. Info: 7th/Métro Sèvres-Babylone. 95 rue de Sèvres. Open daily. Admission: Free. See Eiffel Tower Area Map.
Musée d’Histoire de la Médecine (Museum of Medical History)
Yikes! You can see implements used for skull drilling in this 100-year-old museum dedicated to medical history. The implements used to perform Napoléon’s autopsy are here, too. Info: 6th/Métro Odéon. 12 rue de l’Ecole de Médecine. In the René Descartes University (second floor). Tel. 01/188.8.131.52. Open 2pm-5:30pm except Thu and Sun. Admission: €3.50. See Left Bank Map.