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October 3, 2010

The creepiest (and best) museum in the world

Tomorrow all the language assistants in the Burgundy region will be gathering in Dijon for our orientation. Since I had nothing better to do, I decided to come a day early and check out Burgundy's largest city.

My No. 1 priority for tourist-ing was to visit the Mustard Museum, because, well, how cool is it that a mustard museum exists? Except it doesn't exist. At least not anymore. Quelling the desire to get right back on the train back to Digoin, I soldiered on and visited the huge (and free!) Musée des Beaux Arts in the Ducal Palace. After wandering around there for a few hours, I moseyed the streets of Dijon until I happened upon the Musée de la Vie Bourguignonne.

Quick aside: can I just say how awesome it is to go to museums by yourself? You can go at exactly your own speed and you don't have to pretend to be interested in things you aren't interested just so your companion thinks you're brainy. I highly recommend it.

So. Back to the Museum of Burgundian Life. I wasn't sure what I was expecting, but it wasn't this:

"Bonjour! We are two bare-breasted mannequins with ratty bits of hair stuck to our heads. We like to fight over this one arm between us and use it to slap each other when no one else is around. This is very Burgundian."

What followed was a series of vignettes from Burgundian life-- marriages, trapping babies in odd wooden contraptions...

I went through three such rooms all by my lonesome, giggling to myself and imagining I saw them move. Then I really did see one move! I jumped and yelped, "Oh my God!" Turns out it was a museum docent. I tried to explain to her as I clutched my racing heart, "Oh mon dieu! J'ai pensé que vous étiez un mannequin! C'est tellement affreux! (OMD! I thought you were a mannequin! That's really scary!)"

She descended into giggles. I gave a start when I saw another humanoid docent lurking around the kitchen scene. "Il y a trop de mannequins ici pour avoir des vraies personnes aussi (There are too many mannequins here to have real people as well), " I scolded him.

Next was a series of recreated storefronts. There was a candy shop, a butcher shop, a milliner's, a fur shop, a dry goods shop... and this. A shop of horrors.

Turns out it was supposed to be a hair salon. The lady on the left is getting her hair permed and the lady on the right is getting hers dyed. I think. Either that or they used hair salons as fronts for psychological experiments and/or lobotomies.  

She looks awfully serene for having such a contraption attached to her noggin, no?

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