The Musée de Cluny or le Musée national du Moyen Âge(Middle Ages) is absolutely one of my favorite museums in all of Paris. The art and building itself will have you stepping back into time. Just thinking about Cluny makes me smile wistfully.
The museum was the home of abbots during the Middle Ages. I love the layers of history that museums in Paris have! The building itself is amazing to walk around. We enjoyed the courtyard area. Since the museum is not as frequented as other museums in Paris, it is so peaceful.
A truly interesting aspect of the museum is that the structure was built on top of Roman baths. Being able to see remains of these baths was pretty impressive. There is just something about them being so casually available right there on a street in Paris.
Musée de Cluny is by no means a huge museum and is not crowded. To think, you can actually linger at exhibits without the pressure of someone stepping directly on top of you. Total enjoyment! There are many artifacts of interest in the museum including the original statues from Notre-Dame and an interesting stained glass exhibit.
I was entirely delighted by the wooden sculpture exhibit. When I think about visiting a museum, I do not often think about viewing wooden pieces. I was blown away by how intricate these wooden sculptures are. I spent quite some time studying them. Exquisite!
The chapel also was completely awe-inspiring. The vaulted ceiling is truly not to be missed. My husband, daughter and I lingered quite a bit in the chapel. To say that my husband was inspired means a lot. By this time in our journey, he was a little tired of touring churches. But, he loved this room!
The museum also houses beautiful medieval tapestries, most notably the Madame and the Unicorn. Unfortunately, the Madame and the Unicorn is not currently at the museum but is on exhibition in Japan. Despite the tapestry's absence, there is so much to see at the Musée de Cluny. Besides the indoor exhibits, there is also a Medieval garden as well as a park across the street to amble through. We actually paused for a bit in the nearby park and relaxed a bit before the museum opened. Such a wonderful, enriching experience!
The Musée de Cluny is close to the Pantheon, Sorbonne and Jardin du Luxemburg, so you can easily see a couple of these sites on the same day. There is an audio guide for the Musée de Cluny. You can also pick up explanation cards for each exhibit room as you enter the rooms.
When we return to Paris (and we will return!), another visit to Musée de Cluny will be in order!