Musée de Cluny/Musée du Moyen Age – Review

The Museum of the Middle Ages is situated at 6, Place Paul Painlevé in the 5th Arrondissment in Paris. At ground level you see the 15th century ‘Hotel de Cluny’, but this is built over the remains of Gallo-Roman baths built around 200AD. The highlight is said to be the series of six tapestries comprising the ‘Lady with the unicorn’. I can’t comment on that as they were on tour in Japan when we visited.

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny

But this is still a museum worth visiting if you have an interest in carvings, tapestries or decorative arts of the middle ages.

Now, when you get to the courtyard above, don’t rush inside as you’ll miss a real treat – turn sharp left as as you pass the turret and you will see two sundials on the walls. The complete one – still pretty accurate today – was installed in 1674.

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – sundial

The carvings are spectacular – among the best you will see anywhere

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – wood carving

 

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny

And not just the monumental pieces – these chess pieces from the 12th century are reminiscent of the Lewis chessmen

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – chess pieces

Past the first main display space you will find some stairs leading down into the roman baths. The tepidarium is the most complete, and still has its roof. One small mosaic is displayed, but really this part is largely about the roman construction of the walls and layout of the baths.

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – Roman mosaic

 

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – Gallo-Roman baths – tepidarium

Among the decorative works are this equus water jug with tap

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – Equus water jug

and this reliquary in the form of a dove

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – Dove reliquary

There were some great illuminated manuscripts too – including some ecclesiastical music with beautifully decorated details

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – illuminated manuscript (detail)

And of course while I walked around taking pictures and exploring, Sharon was able to focus on her sketch of the day – of some statues related to Notre Dame cathedral, and lost for some centuries – but then Sharon has already discussed those 🙂

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – Sketching

And we did find a unicorn – just not the one for which the museum is famous. But this too was done by the famous Gobelins tapestry works

Musee de Cluny

Musee de Cluny – tapestry

The Musée de Cluny is well worth a visit – and at €8.50 is relatively inexpensive – it is definitely value for money. It is open from 0930 – 5.45 Wed-Monday. Website is here.


 

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6 Responses to Musée de Cluny/Musée du Moyen Age – Review

  1. Juno says:

    Jerry, thanks for all the lovely photos and all the information about the museums you are putting into your posts. I have a real sense of ‘being’ there.

  2. Jules says:

    This was absolutely fascinating Jerry, it looks like my idea of a perfect museum!
    I’m really enjoying the two different creative perspectives from yourself and Sharon too.:)

  3. Rachel says:

    I’m sorry you missed the Lady and the Unicorn – the highlight, to me, of one of my favourite museums!

    • sharonb says:

      Yes I was sorry too as originally I had planed to see the museum for that reason but I have found it is no good moaning – even privately about it.

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