Natural History Museum, La Rochelle, Charente-Maritime

Fascinating. Over 10,000 artefacts from Africa, America and Oceania are displayed in an elegant historic building set in charming grounds. First is a tour of the flora and fauna of the Poitou-Charentes region, then you head upstairs to an immense and eclectic collection of stuffed birds and animals, fossils, precious rocks, tribal masks and a very rare Easter Island figure. Meet the first giraffe ever seen in France, presented to Charles X from the King of Egypt in 1826, and make what you will of Himantolophus rheinhardtii.