Mushroom Museum Saimur - a must avoid...

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Jul 18th, 2010, 07:04 PM
  #1
pg
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Mushroom Museum Saimur - a must avoid...

During my family (incl three kids 10, 10 and 4) trip to the Loire in May 2010, a trip tp the Mushroom Museum in Simur would be interesting.

Wrong assumption - in this case - for this nearly ranks as the worst museum experience of any kind ever.

Basically, it was a quarry that got converted to a mushroom growing "cave" at the end of quarrying operation several decades ago. The part that really sucks is that for about 6.50 Euro p.p., they don't even have a guide explaining "things". All they do is hand over a file comprising of laminated pages of what's what in which room - really boring.

The caves where the mushrooms are growing is quite as unremarkable. I didn't quite get information on this on this forums, but decided to take a chance by driving half an hour from Villandry, hoping to find something educational. I was hoping that it would turn out to be a great experience like a few other times, when I have gone to less visited sites.

In this case, there is a clear reason why it is not well-visited or commented about. It isn't worth it.
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Jul 18th, 2010, 11:23 PM
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I can sympathize with your perspective given the cost, the number of people you were paying for, their ages and your expectations.

As a self-do, low-tech visit I can see that going with children the ages of yours especially and forking out that amount of money would be a major disappointment. However, I think it unfair to categorically make the statement "A Must Avoid".

My husband and I went several years ago because we happened to be in the area, one which we have visited on numerous occasions, so we weren't going to feel cheated spending a morning at a less traveled site.

I, too, remembered being shocked that we were just basically turned loose down in this labyrinth under the ground, but then it turned to pleasure as were were able to go at our own pace, marvel at the fossils from eons ago displayed in the same space where they were formed (yeah, I know, they have them on display in a much fancier display at the Louvre too, but they weren't created there), and I remember moving from compost bag-to-compost bag (yeah, it's that low-tech) of different, some oddly shaped and/or colorful funghi, that I was unaware existed. I do remember thinking it odd that the Paris button mushroom display was so small in such a big cavernous room. As it was a scorching summer day, we appreciated the coolness of the environment (and somewhat dark and dank). When we were finished wandered up to the little eatery where they prepare the mushrooms they grow. A couple of mushroom dishes with a lovely Saumur wine...we really enjoyed the experience.

For most people this would be last on their list or not even on it, actually. But for us it was a nice respite from the heat with a little history and culture mixed in. Not many people I know have wandered alone in the bowels of Mother Earth....just thought I would present the other side of the coin, so to speak.
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Jul 19th, 2010, 05:39 AM
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There used to be one of these mushroom caves not far from my house in the Dordogne. I don't remember how much it cost to get into it (it closed down operations quite a few years ago), but it was a few euro. It sounds almost identical to what you describe in Saumur. We loved going there. There weren't guides, but there were always a couple of people there more than happy to answer questions. At one point they were trying to cultivate black truffles from spores - talking with them about that was fascinating (though apparently the experiment didn't work). It was a great place to go on a scorching summer day, and we always came home with bags of delicious mushrooms and new information about their cultivation.

The French love their little museums devoted to foodstuffs. They are all over the countryside and often visited by French families. I don't think Americans are quite so into these types of attractions, but I wouldn't totally write off a place like that, if only because it's interesting, to me at least, to see local people engaged in microenterprises.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 08:10 AM
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PatrickLondon, I think this is the place:
http://www.musee-du-champignon.com/

Thanks for the review. I asked about the mushroom museum a couple of years ago when we were heading to the Loire Valley, but I didn't get any replies. We were still gonna go, but our schedule changed somewhat and we ended up not going due to lack of time. I guess from your description, we didn't miss much.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 08:20 AM
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I happen to love off beat museums like this and in small regional museums I would not expect a guided tour or docent or people who speak English.

Since you didn't like this museum I would avoid the Lock and Key museum in Paris and the Corkscrew Museum in Provence (can't remember the town). Also avoid sightseeing in the Czech Republic as most sights do not have guided tours in English or even a guide who speaks English. You get laminated pages to read about each room and that's it.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 08:36 AM
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Herself and I visited it a few years ago, and enjoyed it. It was a guided tour. So far as I can remember, the commentary was in French (which is okay with us if the guide does not speak too fast).

Maybe we are too easy to please.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 08:52 AM
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All the great things to see in the Loire Valley and you chose mushrooms?

Why is a quote from PT Barnum rattling around my cranium right about now?
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Jul 21st, 2010, 10:30 AM
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BigRuss:
I think that is why it's called a travel forum; so people can share information...preferably without slamming other people's opinions and choices.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 11:15 AM
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Sorry, but it's not just compliments and pats on the back that are acceptable discourse, klondike.

Fact is, that in the Loire Valley, which has chateaux, scenery, nice small towns, wineries, history, etc., both you and the OP paid good money for a museum of fungus.

Barnum.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 12:12 PM
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What's wrong with a bit of variety? I don't feel that the time I spent in the Musée du Champignon was wasted -- nor the visit to the troglodyte dwellings, nor various walks in various parks, nor browsing in shops, nor sitting reading, nor any of a list of other things that are not on BigRuss's list of approved activities.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 12:44 PM
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It think I would like visiting the mushroom museum, just for the quirkiness of it, though the 6.50 entrance price seems a bit steep.

Every town has its quirky museums and Frankfurts is a hammer museum.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 01:06 PM
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"Approved activities"? What does that have to do with anything? I understand you're a European, Paddy, but you still have some freedom. I'm not your master, so I don't really care if you do something daft. You can do whatever fool thing you want.

Go to a night vegetable museum, hang out with the fungi, search for the museum of roots and shoots, view the magnificent egress. Who cares? But to complain that you've been ripped off afterwards is rather preposterous.

P.S. -- the troglodyte dwellings are a unique feature of the Loire Valley and a known tourist attraction, so I don't know how they are parallel or equivalent to the museum of fungi.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 01:11 PM
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You guys need to travel interstate 70 across Kansas. At every exit there is some kind of weird museum or attraction. "World's first bulldozer", "World's first helicopter", "Pioneer Woman" but my personal favorite is...

"Prairie Dog Town- World's largest prairie dog. See the 6 legged cow and the two-headed sheep."

Then there is the one with the semi-truck and trailer standing on it's nose.

Oh and lest I forget, if you are traveling at the right time of year you can be attacked by tumble weeds for 300 miles. See, there are no trees in western Kansas, so they use billboards as wind breaks.

Going from west to east there is a billboard right after you cross the Colorado/Kansas state line that is advertising a German restaurant in St. Louis, Missouri..."Hey kids, only 700 miles before we stop for supper, who's gettin hungry?"

dave
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Jul 21st, 2010, 01:30 PM
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<>

What's it to you? I happen to love fungi. And I've probably spent at least 100 days in the Loire over the course of my lifetime, so why not try something new? I also chose to stop at the fete de crottin one year - was that "daft" too? I've been to the Ecomusee des Noix in the Dordogne, too, and the coin museum down the lane from my house there, and similar things all over Europe. I must be an idiot.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 01:37 PM
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Could the museum possibly have been in SaUmur rather than SaImur? I know the first but not the second.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 01:39 PM
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Yes, it's Saumur.
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Jul 21st, 2010, 02:15 PM
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Hey in Iowa...USA...you can visit the "Iowa 80 Truckstop - World's Largest Truckstop." Just outside Kansas City, Kansas you can see the Agricultural Hall of Fame.

When I go to France for the heck of it I might wander into a fungi museum. I might even visit a little town in the countryside that really doesn't have anything normal tourists want to see.

Call me daft but sometimes the best memories come from the unexpected.

DaveMM
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Jul 21st, 2010, 03:01 PM
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Please be aware that, unless it happens to be his name, to call an Irishman Paddy is offensive. It is used as an ethnic slur.

[The same applies to Mick in some places.]
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