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.
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.
The carvings are spectacular – among the best you will see anywhere
And not just the monumental pieces – these chess pieces from the 12th century are reminiscent of the Lewis chessmen
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.
Among the decorative works are this equus water jug with tap
and this reliquary in the form of a dove
There were some great illuminated manuscripts too – including some ecclesiastical music with beautifully decorated details
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 🙂
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
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.