Museum of the Beast of Gevaudan – Saugues, France - Atlas Obscura

Museum of the Beast of Gevaudan

Saugues, France

An unsettling shrine dedicated to the ravenous beast that prowled 18th-century France. 


From 1764 to 1770, some horrible creature was devouring French citizens, yet the mystery of this ravenous animal has never been solved. 

The man-eater that appeared like a wolf picked the province of Gévaudan (now the department of Lozère) as its hunting ground, with around 100 deaths attribute to the Beast of Gévaudan. Some speculate it was a monstrously large wolf, some a werewolf, some even a lost hyena. Nevertheless, its end is attributed to a shot by Jean Chastel who is honored with a monument in La Besseyre-Saint-Mary, while a young woman who wounded it in a showdown gets an even more dramatic statue in Auvers.

The Museum of the Beast of Gévaudan (Musée fantastique de la Bête du Gévaudan) in Saugues, located not far from the base of the town’s iconic Tour des Anglais, takes you through 22 dioramas over four floors that aim to immerse you in the terror and confusion wrought by the animal. You can meet the citizens of Gévaudan, played by somewhat unsettling mannequins in moody lighting, and try to figure out just what is killing everyone. And while you’re in Saugues, keep an eye on the hillside where a giant sculpture of the beast looms. 

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