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Esperaza dinosaur museum - vacation attractions in Aude, Southern France

Esperaza is 10 minutes drive from our self-catering holiday and long-term lets in Laval.

It is famous for its three museums - a dinosaur museum, hat museum and honey museum.

You can probably guess which of the three museums is the largest!

The Aude used to be a major manufacturing region for hats.  When the fashion for hats faded, one of the factories was converted to a hat museum, where all the old machines can be made.  The hat museum is part of the museum complex and one ticket includes entry to all three.

French hat manufacturing

As well as the museums, Esperaza has the largest regular market in this area of Languedoc. Each Sunday morning thousands of people gather in Esperaza's square and the surrounding streets to sample local produce and purchase souvenirs of the area.

Esperaza vacation

The photo above depicts a part of the market in front of Esperaza's church, which is dedicated to Saint Michel.

 

Esperaza dinosaur museum

Esperaza's Dinosaur Museum has 3500 m2 of expositions, including dinosaur skeletons, life size models of dinosaurs and a range of fossils and other displays.

Dinosaur museum - vacation attractions in Languedoc Roussillon, South France lets

Dinosaur fossils were first discovered in Aude in 1877, however it wasn't until 1989 that the interest in dinosuar fossils in the Aude region really started.  Following the discovery of another large dinosaur fossil in Campagne-sur-Aude, a request was made to undertake an excavation and over just 10 days in July 1989, dozens of dinosaur fossils were discovered at the Bellevue site in Campagne-sur-Aude.

Since then literally thousands of fossils have been discovered in Aude.  The most exciting find was in August 2001, by Eva Morvan, a student at the University of Rennes who was involved in the excavation. She uncovered some dinosaur ribs and vertebrae that were anatomically connected. Three weeks later, the team identified the specimen as a sauropod dinosaur (Ampelosaurus ATAC), quickly dubbed "Eva" by the excavation team. Since then skull bones have also been discovered, making Eva the most complete dinosaur skeleton ever found in France.

Dinosaurs

The Esperaza dinosaur museum website (in French only) has more photos and shows prices and opening hours.  The museum is open all year round, but times vary by season.