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Unusual Paris Museums and Galleries
Musée National du Moyen-Age
Thermes et Hôtel de Cluny
6, place Paul Painlevé , 75005 Paris
tel: 01 53 73 78 00 (switchboard and voice server) 01 53 73 78 16 (reception)
Métro: Cluny-La Sorbonne / Saint-Michel / Odéon
Bus: 21 - 27 - 38 - 63 - 85 - 86 - 87
RER: line C Saint-Michel / line B Cluny - La Sorbonne
Taxis: rue Soufflot / place Saint-Michel / place Maubert
Open: every day except Tuesday, from 9:15 am to 5:45 pm
Entry: Free; no entry after 5:15 pm
Small but perfectly formed! The Musée National du Moyen-Age (National Museum of the Middle Ages), located right in the Latin Quarter, has three major sections.
The main museum is housed in a 15th century Gothic mansion, Cluny Abbey, containing a wide selection of medieval art as well as a collection of original sculptures from the facade of Notre Dame such as the heads from the gallery of Kings (removed by mobs during the Revolution).
Next door are the oldest (3rd century) Gallic-Roman baths in Paris, including a "Frigidarium'' (cold room). These baths are particularly important given their exceptional state of preservation due to the nearly continuous use of the building since the Middle Ages.
The third attraction, the medieval style garden, was only opened in September 2000, and surrounds Cluny Abbey with garden areas inspired by the medieval collections in the Museum.
The tapestries, including the famous 15th century Lady and Unicorn, are spectacular, but the most interesting exhibits are the things you never usually see in museums, everyday objects relating to daily life, particularly from the late Middle Ages, such as items used at home (chests, boxes and tapestry, children's toys), at the table (cutlery and plates and the like), and for personal appearance (clothes and accessories, shoes, combs). Medieval travel is represented by objects such as weights and coins, travel chests and emblems evoking distant pilgrimages (St-Jacques (James) of Compostelle, Rome and even the Holy Land).
Tip: Once finished with the Museum it is only a short walk to Notre Dame, the Luxenbourg Gardens, the Pantheon or Sorbonne. Enjoy a stroll through the Left Bank!
Next page : Musée de la Musique