A Shell Museum at the Château de Bel Ombre
Since the beginning of April 2016, Heritage Resorts’ villa and hotel guests have access to a new cultural experience on the Domaine de Bel Ombre: a shell museum set at the heart of a 19th century mansion. They are offered a free visit to discover nearly 7,000 seashells from Mauritius and elsewhere.
Visitors can expect to be amazed and enchanted by this “World of Seashells” museum, which is located on the Château de Bel Ombre‘s first floor. Such an impressive collection of shells leaves no one indifferent, for most of us would hardly imagine the riches of this “world”.
7,000 seashells and 1,800 species
On the Château’s first floor, visitors are invited to roam freely along the 68 display cases to discover some 7,000 shells and 1,800 species. The atmosphere is quiet, refreshing and studious. Both children and adults will have fun recognizing some shells and trying to memorize the names of the most curious ones. The shells are classified by family, name, author, origin, and all mollusk families are represented. The smallest shell is a one-millimeter Giberula and the largest a 400mm Tritonus Charonia. The last one is a worldwide protected species since it is the best-known predator of the Acanthaster starfish, which itself mostly feeds on corals.
The collection includes real marvels such as cones, cowries, terebra shells, volutes, conches and other remarkable varieties from the Mediterranean Sea, Japan, Senegal, India and the Maldives. There are other seashells coming from our own shores and from Hawaii, California, Colombia, Mexico, Australia, the Red Sea and New-Caledonia. According to the owner of this collection, Eric Lecourt, the greatest diversity of shells can be found in the Philippines, in Egypt and in Madagascar. Interestingly, this seashell aficionado has discovered a new species in St-Brandon, which is now known as the “Lecourtorum”!
Sharing sea world’s beauty
Through this collaboration with Eric Lecourt, Heritage Resorts aims at sharing the shell collector’s passion for such sea treasures and introducing guests to a little-known world. It is also a way to raise public awareness on beach and lagoon conservation, both in Mauritius and worldwide. Actually, because of intensive fishing, excessive harvesting and marine activities destroying their natural habitat, there are fewer and fewer shells on our beaches and in our seas.
Opening hours: The Museum is open Monday through Saturday, from 9.00 to 18.00.
Free access for Heritage Resorts’ guests.
“If you pick up a shell and bring it to your ear, you will hear the sea. If you bring it to your chest, it will listen to your heart.” – Philippe Geluck