Musée de Cluny - Musée national du Moyen Âge
One thousand years of medieval history in an exhibition held in the Lutèce thermae in the heart of the Latin Quarter.
There is somewhere in Paris where you can learn all about the history of the Middle Ages, a period of a thousand years often best known by clichés and misconceptions. An example? Our ancestors didn’t wash very much. Yet the Musée de Cluny is built on Gallo-Roman thermal baths dating back to the 1st century which were used throughout the Middles Ages. The frigidarium (cold pool) was recently restored and can now be visited.
The other part of the Museum can be found in the former Hôtel of the Abbots of Cluny, built at the end of the 15th century. After a stroll in the medieval gardens and a walk through the main courtyard, you can admire one of the world’s largest collections of this period.
Amongst the masterpieces preserved the famous Lady and the Unicorn, a series of six wool and silk tapestries illustrating the five senses, and a sixth, mysteriously called "A mon seul désir" (“By my will alone”) can be seen. You can also admire the Pillar of the Boatmen (Pilier des Nautes) and a collection attributed to Saint Landry, a set of pieces of gold work from the Middle Ages including in particular 12th century reliquaries from Limoges and the Golden Rose belonging to Rodolphe III of Nidau. For lovers of gothic art, there are the heads of the 27 kings of Judas which decorated the facade of the Cathedral of Notre-Dame as well as a sculpture of Adam.