Musée du Moyen-Age

The Musée du Moyen-Age, better known as the Cluny Museum, is one of the remaining buildings from the Medieval period in Paris.  The first time I visited this museum was to see the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries (La Dame à la Licorne) which were brought back to life by the writer Tracy Chevalier in her historical novel of the same name.  However, after I entered the museum, I became a part of  the Moyen Age!

Moyen Age stained glass window:
Musee du Cluny

The Cluny museum was constructed on the remains of Gallo-Roman baths  dating back to the 3rd century and can still be visited today.  The bath house is divided into three sections: the frigidarium (cooling room),the caldarium (hot water room) and the tepidarium (warm water room). In addition, you can visit the gymnasium which now houses the Gallery of French Kings and sculptures from Notre Dame.

Gallery of French Kings and sculptures from Notre Dame

This structure is a combination of Gothic and Renaissance architecture and was formerly a town house of the abbots of Cluny built in 1334.  Since that time it has been a theological college of the Sorbonne, a home to Mary Tudor, after the death of her husband Louix XIII, an observatory to the astronomer Charles Messier, a dissection room in the Flamboyant chapel, and is currently a museum with one of the largest collections of medieval and Renaissance objects including Aristotle’s Metaphysics.

Gothic architecture in the chapel
The “dissection”room, also the chapel!
Notice the tiled floor!
Aristotle’s ” Metaphysics”

My favorite part, however, is still the top chambre which is home to La Dame à la Licorne. These are a series of six tapestries woven in the 15th century in Flanders which belonged to Jean Le Viste, a nobleman in the court of King Charles VII. The first five depict the five senses and the sixth displays the words “À mon seul désir“.  The tapestries are still rich in color emphasizing the deep ruby reds, and royal blues.

The Lady and the Unicorn tapestries

The Musée du Moyen-Age is located in the 5th arrondissment at 6 Place Paul Painlevé, south of the blvd Saint-Germain.

Copyright 2018 by Robyn Lowrie. May be quoted in part or full only with attribution to Robyn Lowrie (