- Places to Explore
- Travel Tips
- Fodor's Choice
- French Phrases
Fodor's Paris 2014
Mobile AppDownload Fodor's City Guide App for FREE!
Musée de Cluny (Musée National du Moyen-Age (National Museum of the Middle Ages))
Musée de Cluny (Musée National du Moyen-Age (National Museum of the Middle Ages)) Review
Built on the ruins of Roman baths, the Hôtel de Cluny has been a museum since medievalist Alexandre Du Sommerard established his collection here in 1844. The ornate 15th-century mansion was created for the abbot of Cluny, leader of the mightiest monastery in France. Symbols of the abbot's power surround the building, from the crenellated walls that proclaimed his independence from the king, to the carved Burgundian grapes twining up the entrance that symbolize his valuable vineyards. The scallop shells (coquilles St-Jacques) covering the facade are a symbol of religious pilgrimage, another important source of income for the abbot; the well-traveled pilgrimage route to Spain once ran around the corner along the rue St-Jacques. The highlight of the museum's collection is the world-famous Dame à la Licorne (Lady and the Unicorn) tapestry series, woven in the 16th century, probably in Belgium, and now presented in newly refurbished surroundings. The vermillion tapestries (Room 13) are an allegorical representation of the five senses. In each, a unicorn and a lion surround an elegant young woman against an elaborate millefleur (literally, 1,000 flowers) background. The enigmatic sixth tapestry is thought to be either a tribute to a sixth sense, perhaps intelligence, or a renouncement of the other senses. "To my only desire" is inscribed at the top. The collection also includes the original sculpted heads of the Kings of Israel and Judah from Notre-Dame, decapitated during the Revolution and discovered in 1977 in the basement of a French bank. The frigidarium (Room 9) is a stunning reminder of the city's cold-water Roman baths; the soaring space, painstakingly renovated in 2009, houses temporary exhibits. Also notable is the pocket-size chapel (Room 20) with its elaborate Gothic ceiling. Outside, in the Place Paul Painlevé, is a charming medieval-style garden with flora depicted in the unicorn tapestries. The free audioguide in English is highly recommended.
- Address: 6 pl. Paul-Painlevé, Latin Quarter, Paris, 75005 | Map It
- Phone: 01–53–73–78–00
- Cost: €8; €8.50 during temporary exhibitions; free first Sun. of month
- Hours: Wed.–Mon. 9:15–5:45; closed Tues.
- Website: www.musee-moyenage.fr
- Metro Cluny–La Sorbonne.
- Location: The Latin Quarter
- 80 Degrees: Fodor's Helps You Find Your Best Beach Vacation Spots
- Fodor's Go List 2014: Where we are going in 2014
- World Cup Fever: Start planning your trip to Brazil!
- Fodor's 100 Hotel Awards: Check out the winners of 2013
- Weekend Getaways: Fodor's Recommends the Best Weekend Escapes in the US
- Great American Vacation: Find Your Next U.S. Trip with Fodor's
Numerous people here probably know that Boulevard Saint Germain is not at all my favorite street in Paris, but since it is one of the main streets in the city, I felt that I should do a photo report abou Read more
We saw London, we saw France and lots more.
Day 1 (9/18) Amsterdam
Well I have put off this trip report long enough so here goes. I am writing this to pay forward the help and advice which I received from Read more
My wife, a good friend and I will be going to Paris in early October of this year. Read more
· News & Features
In the fashionable streets of Le Marias lie remnants from Paris's sometimes turbulent history. ... Read more
Famous writers have called Paris home throughout history, and many of their favorite bars and restaurants... Read more
Author, artist, and expat Janice MacLeod shares her top insider tips for strolling around the City o... Read more