Rats and the Cirque d’Hiver
Even if you haven’t laid eyes on any rats in the city yet, trust me – they are there. I’ve seen them bolting through the tunnels of the Sewer Museum (my first and last time there), traipsing along the periphery of playgrounds just feet away from my children and even performing tricks at Paris’ Cirque d’Hiver Bouglione. Part of the circus act included GIANT rats, which they called “les plus gros rats du monde.”
I was getting a little nervous about running into one of those on the street one night until I looked them up and discovered they are actually coypus from South America. You’ll only see them at the circus. The rats running around Paris are comparatively small and harmless.
How Parisians Coexist With the Polarizing Rodents
Parisian Exterminators’ Love Affair With Taxidermy
Perhaps the most shocking window display in Paris is found at a shop called Aurouze on Rue des Halles in the 1st. They’ve got your typical standing stuffed rats, but they also feature desiccated rats next to wooden rat traps and poison pellets, and above that, two rows of taxidermied rats hanging by their necks from antique traps.
A friend and I made a stop here with Bike About Tours and learned that these rats were captured in 1925 in nearby Les Halles, which used to be a huge food market. The Aurouze family, who founded the shop in 1872, must know some talented taxidermists because those stuffed rats don’t look a day over two. (Two years is the average lifespan of a rat, by the way.)