‘I went to a museum dedicated entirely to French fries and it’s quite something’
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Bruges may be famous for its gorgeous markets, medieval buildings and chocolate, but when I recently visited the Belgian city, it was a museum entirely dedicated to potatoes that went to the top of my list.
The Friet Museum is a museum dedicated entirely to potatoes, and the fact that our hotel receptionist was baffled when I asked about it only made me want to visit even more.
Fries (aka 'frites') are actually a Belgian delicacy, not French – a very important point which the museum really hammers home as you wander around.
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It was every bit as gloriously bizarre as I'd hoped.
There's a room dedicated to fryers, a walk-through exhibition showcasing all the different types of potatoes, a room which is basically full of books where famous people mentioned potatoes, and heaps of wacky memorabilia including paintings, comic strips and TV shows which celebrate the humble spud.
One highlight is a short clip looking back at the time a group of scientists decided to send a cone of chips up to space, with a camera attached to see how far up it could go – it was oddly mesmerising to watch!
There's even an arcade-style shooting game called 'Potato Troopers' where you have to shoot at bugs to keep your fields of spuds protected (and it's very easy to get competitive as you play against other visitors).
However, one of the biggest and most surreal highlights has to be the Frites Cabaret. This involves a small room you walk into which is decked out to look like a dazzling theatre show, where a line-up of giant potatoes and French fries await.
Cue the music, and suddenly they're singing at you, complete with lyrics that seem to just involve shouting 'Mayonnaise!', explaining the perfect way to cook a French fry and also aggressively reminding you that "We are fries but NOT French".
Just be warned, the tune is annoyingly catchy and will be stuck in your head for days.
When you're done wandering through the museum, you can end the visit with a trip to the in-house chip shop, where fresh French fries await (you need to buy these but your entry ticket comes with a 40 cents discount).
The entire museum takes about half an hour to 45 minutes to visit. It's actually in a really great central location just off the city's main square. It's definitely the type of place to bookmark if you're in Bruges and the weather isn't being kind, or if you've got kids and you're looking to keep them busy.
It's not even the only weird and wonderful museum in the city.
There's also the popular chocolate museum Choco Story – and yes, you get free chocolate inside – as well as a museum all about lamps, but I drew the line at the latter and stopped for a spot of lunch (involving French fries, of course).
Tickets start from €8 per adult but you can also buy a joint ticket which includes entry to other museums for a slight discount. You can find out more on frietmuseum.be/en.
Have you been to a weird and wonderful museum you think others need to see? Let us know in the comments below.
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