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 fifteenth 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 first to third 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.
The nearest metro stations to Musee de Cluny are Cluny-La Sorbonne (line 10), Saint-Michel (line 4) and Odéon (lines 4, 10). RER lines B and C go to Saint-Michel-Notre-Dame. Buses 21, 27, 38, 63, 85-87 stop nearby.
Musee de Cluny is open daily except Tuesdays, 9:15am-5:45pm (last entry 5:15pm). Closed 1 Jan, 1 May, 25 Dec. Entry costs €8.50, €6.50 reduced. Audioguide €1. Entry free first Sunday of each month.
Musee National du Moyen Age, Musee de Cluny, 6 place Paul Painlevé, 7
+33 (0)1 53 73 78 00
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