"Glory of the Middle Ages" Musee de Cluny - Museum of the Middle Ages Tip by goodfish

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This is an absolute jewel of a museum and one of the highlights of Paris. Musée de Cluny /Musée National du Moyen Âge is a 15th-century manse of medieval treasures adjacent to Roman-era thermal baths dating to when Paris was known as Lutetia. Unfortunately the baths were undergoing work so we could only admire from the sidewalk the portion visible behind a fence. No matter; the collection more than made up for an unexpected snag.

Some of our favorites were:
• Six 15th-century "Lady and the Unicorn" (Dame à la Licorne) tapestries: stars of the show

• Brilliant 12th and 13th-century stained glass from some of France's famous landmarks such as Saint Denis and Sainte-Chapelle

• Fragments of very old sculptures torn from Notre Dame during the French Revolution

• Tiny, amazingly detailed ivory decorative panels

• Beautifully carved altarpieces and misericords

• Gorgeous statuary in a myriad of mediums

With some small exceptions the entire collection is fascinating and the impressive architecture and gardens of Hôtel de Cluny itself creates the perfect backdrop for these beautiful displays. Best of all? It wasn't as overrun with humans as the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay.

The museum has a very good website with background on the baths, mansion, gardens and the collection. It also has maps of the floor plan and visitor guides which can be downloaded before you go. If you have a Paris Museum Pass, just walk in and ask for an audioguide. If you don't have a pass, see the website for current prices (audio guides are included). Under 26 and an EU citizen? Lucky you - entrance is free!

Open every day except Tuesday, from 9:15 to 5:45
Desk closes at 5:15
Closed 1 January, 1 May and 25 December.

Great deal: entrance to the museum is free (1€ for audioguides) for all on the 1st Sunday of the month.

Address: 6, place Paul Painlevé 75005 Paris
Directions: Where Boulevard Saint-Michel meets Boulevard Saint-Germain; couldn't be easier. Metro Cluny-Sorbonne (closer) or Saint-Michel (not far at all).
Website: http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/ang/index.html

Review Helpfulness: 4.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Apr 1, 2013
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Comments (1)

  • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2013 at 12:42 AM

    stunning tapestries, always enjoyed the Unicorn and associated fables ;-)))

    • goodfish's Profile Photo
      Apr 2, 2013 at 1:19 AM

      They were pretty remarkable, Ken!

    • kenHuocj's Profile Photo
      Apr 2, 2013 at 4:15 AM

      i'll patiently wait for my time to see them personally, in the meantime, VT & the www ;-)))


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