Musee de Cluny or Musee du Moyen Age Museum in Paris

This museum in Paris is ideal for those of you that love history, as it is classed as the Museum of the Middle Ages and has numerous artefacts from jewellery through to tapestries, not forgetting you can discover the Gallo-Roman baths of the Thermes de Cluny, as well as a reconstructed Medieval garden.

A quick bit of history

The Museum of the Middle Ages is housed within a Gallo-Roman monument from the 1st to 3rd centuries along with the Hotel de Cluny, which was an abbey belonging to the Monks of Cluny that originally dates back to the late 15th century.
Musee de Cluny facade
The Hotel de Cluny was then rebuilt and turned into a mansion house by Jacques d’Amboise, the abbot of Cluny, at the end of the 15th century, which is the place you will be able to discover today.  In fact, even though there have been alterations throughout the centuries, the Hotel de Cluny has still managed to retain the original layout of its rooms.

Yet moving on, from the late 1700s it was owned by the state and in the early 1800s it was lived in by an art collector called Alexandre du Sommerard, and it was his collection that was donated to the state and the city of Paris when he died in 1842, with the museum in the Hotel de Cluny being opened a year later.

About Musee de Cluny or Musee du Moyen Age

The Musee du Moyen Age is also referred to as the Musee de Cluny due to the name of the mansion house where it resides and has a very extensive collection of objects that relate to everyday life during the Middle Ages.  This is especially true from the latter part, and in the hall of the manor you can discover some of the activities of lords and ladies such as hunting, reading, poetry, etc.
Another room is devoted to everyday objects of a home such as chests, cabinets and wall hangings along with tableware in pewter and ceramics.  There are also items of jewellery, combs, weights and coins along with travel boxes and some signs of distant pilgrimages that used to take place, like the pilgrimage of Saint-Jacques de Compostela all the way to Spain.

There are magnificent examples of tapestries to be discovered at this museum in Paris, which reflect different techniques from antiquity to the late Middle Ages including those from Egypt, the Byzantine Empire, Spain, Italy, the UK and of course France.

You will find that the Musee de Cluny has one of the best and most magnificent collections of tapestries in the whole of France including the famous tapestry called The Lady and the Unicorn.

The Museum of the Middle Ages is also fortunate to have one of the most beautiful collections of jewellery and enamels, and the objects in gold, silver or copper, often enamelled or adorned with jewels, form the treasure of rich abbeys and royalty.
Musee de Cluny golden sculpture
Stone statue inside Musee de Cluny
Here you can discover some of the famous votive crowns that come from Guarrazar and the churches of Toledo in Spain where kings and other nobility used to place offerings in the 7th century, along with an alter dating from the early 11th century that belonged to the cathedral of Basel in Switzerland.

Plus there are an exemplary set of enamels from Limoges in the Limousin region of France and a collection of Ivory, which with the famous Musee du Louvre, these two museums have the two most major collections of ivory in Paris.

You can also discover a room dedicated to weapons, armour and numerous other objects that related to chivalry and war through the Middle Ages.  Not forgetting that there is now a Medieval Garden with herbs used in medieval medicine such as sage, a vegetable garden, a courtyard, and a garden area that was inspired by the tapestries located within the Musee de Cluny, Musee du Moyen Age.

Also for anyone interested in history, you can get to see the Gallo Roman baths of the Thermes de Cluny, so this is a fascinating museum with a rich history and a unique collection that is well worth a visit while you are on holiday in Paris.
Musee de Cluny stone ceiling
In addition to these, the Musee de Cluny, Musee du Moyen Age also hosts temporary exhibitions, which are always changing and related to a specific theme each time such as Art and Nature in the Middle Ages, the architecture of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, Middle Ages Antiquities and the Orient in the Middle Ages.

Visiting Musee de Cluny or Musee du Moyen Age

The Musee de Cluny is open on a Monday and then on a Wednesday through to a Sunday from 9:15am to 5:45pm.  However it closes on a Tuesday and on major national French holidays such as 1st May and 15th August, but we would like to point out that the ticket office closes a minimum of 45 minutes prior to the normal closing time.

The Medieval Garden is open daily from 9am through to 5:30pm with completely free access, but it is open slightly later in the summer months, plus there is a boutique or bookshop and gift shop that is open during the museum opening hours, bar closing for the traditional French siesta lunch break.
Historical painting at Musee de Cluny
Architecture of Musee de Cluny
To access the Musee National du Moyen Age is a cost of €8 as of 2018 with an additional €1 charge during temporary exhibitions.  Yet you may be pleased to know that it is free entry to those under the age of 18 and students under the age of 26 that are resident within the European Union, along with being free to anyone on the first Sunday of each month.

An audio guide is also available in French, English, Spanish, Italian, German and Japanese, which is included within the cost of entry or at a charge of €1 for those that can gain free entry.  There is also a guide for younger children, although this is only available in the French language at present.

Situated in the 5th Arrondissement this museum is located within the Latin Quarter close to the Sorbonne and within walking distance of numerous impressive tourist attractions in Paris.

For instance you could also discover the Ile de la Cite, which is an island in the River Seine that has monuments such as the Sainte Chapelle, the palace turned to a prison called La Conciergerie and the fabulous Notre Dame Cathedral.  But other monuments in Paris like The Pantheon and the tallest fountain in Paris called the Fontaine Saint-Michel are also within walking distance.
Artifacts at Musee de Cluny

Access to Musee de Cluny, Musee du Moyen Age

If you are thinking of arriving on the public transport in Paris, then you will find that the nearest Metro station is the Cluny - La Sorbonne stop serving line 10.  Alternatively, within walking distance you have the Saint-Michel stop serving line 4, the Maubert - Mutualite stop serving line 10 and the Odeon stop, which serves lines 4 and 10.

Whereas if you are travelling on the RER trains then you would need the train station called the Saint-Michel  - Notre-Dame stop , which serves the RER B and RER C Lines.

In addition to these options, the bus lines 21, 24, 27, 38, 47, 58, 63, 70, 85, 86 and 87 along with the Noctilien Night Bus Service via lines N14, N15, N21, N22 and N122 will also get you within walking distance of here and other places such as the historical Procope Brasserie and the Jardin du Luxembourg, plus there are Velib stations for the self service bike hire scheme located close by as well.