Musee de Cluny - History and Facts | History Hit

Musee de Cluny

Paris, Ile-de-France, France

Musee de Cluny houses Ancient Roman baths and the national medieval museum in Paris.

About Musee de Cluny

The Musée de Cluny, also known as Musée national du Moyen Âge – is a museum of the Middle Ages in Paris, France.

Musee de Cluny history

Musee de Cluny in Paris is steeped in both medieval and Ancient Roman history. Officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge – the National Museum of the Middle Ages – Musee de Cluny has an impressive collection, including Roman statues, gothic sculptures, a treasury filled with the works of medieval goldsmiths and an exhibit of funereal objects.

Also housing a collection of tapestries, one of the star exhibits at Musee de Cluny is the La Dame à la Licorne series, translated as “The Lady and the Unicorn” tapestries, which date back to the 15th century.

Musee de Cluny contains a number of other interesting exhibits, including a set of Jewish gravestones dating back to Roman times.

However, it is not just what is inside Musee de Cluny which is of interest to historians – the very buildings in which it is contained are of great historical importance. Notably, Musee de Cluny is made up of two main buildings, the fifteenth century Cluny Abbey Hotel (Hôtel de Cluny) and an important series of Gallo-Roman baths.

These baths, known as Thermes de Cluny, date back to the 1st to 3rd centuries AD and represent some of the best preserved remnants of the Gallo-Roman city of Lutetia. With much of their walls intact, Thermes de Cluny is an exciting find for Ancient Rome enthusiasts.

Some of the rooms of Musee de Cluny were once part of the baths (the official site has a map showing which these are – otherwise it is hard to tell). Outside the museum, one can see the original walls of the cold room or “caldarium” and warm water room (tepidarium), although, at the time of writing, visitors cannot walk around this part of the site.

Musee de Cluny today

The Musee de Cluny, located in a spacious former hotel, houses one of the most impressive collections of medieval art, including jewelry, tapestries and sculptures in the city. From 2018 to 2020, it partially closed for renovation works.

Don’t miss the exhibition “Magical Unicorns”. The Museum is open everyday except Tuesdays from 9:15 to 5:45 and entrance costs 5 Euros.

Getting to Musee de Cluny

The new entrance to the museum can be found at 28 rue Du Sommerard, 75005 Paris. If travelling to the museum via metro, the nearest stations are Cluny-La Sorbonne, Saint-Michel or Odéon. Lines C or B on the RER will help you reach these destinations.

If travelling via bus use routes 21, 27, 38, 63, 85, 86 or 87. If you decide to take a taxi to the museum, the best drop-off location are Rue Soufflot, Place Saint-Michel or Place Maubert. If travelling by car, the three closest car parks are at Rue de l’Ecole de Médecine, Rue Soufflot or Parc Saint-Michel (Saint-André-des-Arts entrance).

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