The Cluny Museum, also called Musée national du Moyen Âge, is a medieval museum right in the heart of Paris in the Latin Quarter.
If you are curious of the medieval times, the habits of people from the middle-age, their culture, their way of living and art, this museum is the perfect place to learn.
In this article, we will help you go thought all the important visitor information for the Cluny Museum in Paris, including exhibition highlights, history, tickets, tours and helpful information on how to get there.
What can I do at the Cluny Museum ?
With its rich collection, the Cluny Museum (Musée de Cluny) takes visitors into the world of the Middle Ages.
Numerous works of art and utensils from the Middle Ages provide information about everyday life and the art of that time.
This includes everyday objects, but also stained glass, paintings, sculptures, statues and works of medieval goldsmiths. The extensive collection of leaded glass windows is also worth seeing.
The heart of the collection is the tapestry The Lady with the Unicorn. The series of six tapestries dates from the 14th century.
The first five parts stand for the five senses, while the 6th part with the inscription “Mon seul désir” (in English: My only desire) symbolizes overcoming joys.
Other noteworthy pieces are the pillar of the Nautae Parisiaci from the 1st century AD, which shows various gods from Roman and Gallic mythology, the 120 cm high altar clothing of the Basler Antependium, which was donated by Emperor Heinrich II, and the heads the royal gallery, which hung over the gates of Notre-Dame until the French Revolution.
The Museum Building of Cluny Museum
The imposing museum building of the Musée de Cluny itself is also very important and well worth a visit.
It consists of three buildings from different eras. These include the Thermes de Cluny (ruins of Gallo-Roman thermal baths from ancient Lutetia), the Hôtel de Cluny (a late Gothic-style town house of the abbots of Cluny from the 15th century) and the new reception building by the architect Bernard Desmoulin from 2018.
The Garden of Cluny Museum
The medieval garden with an area of around 5,000 square meters invites visitors to stroll. There is a garden with medicinal herbs, an area with vegetables and an idyllic garden with colorful flowers.
Temporary Exhibitions of Cluny Museum
Temporary exhibitions are held regularly in the museum. For an up-to-date overview of the temporary exhibitions, visit the Cluny Museum's Official Website.
Events at Cluny Museum
Bookstore & Shop at Cluny Museum
The museum has a bookshop and a museum shop with various items.
Entrance, Tickets and Tours to Cluny Museum
How to get to the Cluny Museum?
The centrally located Cluny Museum is situated in the Latin Quarter in the 5th arrondissement of Paris.
The easiest way to get there is by metro line 10 to "Cluny-La Sorbonne" or line 4 to "Saint-Michel" or "Odéon".
Alternatively, you can take the RER trains C (to “Saint-Michel”) or B (to “Cluny-La Sorbonne”). There are also numerous busses, including lines 21, 27, 38, 63, 85, 86 and 87, that operate near the museum.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
The Musée de Cluny is located in the heart of the popular Latin Quarter in Paris' 5th arrondissement, just a 10-minute walk from Notre Dame Cathedral. The address of the museum is: 28 rue Du Sommerard 75005 Paris.
Tickets for the Cluny Museum can be purchased online in advance or at the ticket counter on site.
The easiest way to get to the Musée de Cluny is by metro line 10 (to "Cluny-La Sorbonne") or line 4 (to "Saint-Michel" or "Odéon"). Alternatively, you can take the RER line C (to “Saint-Michel”) or B (to “Cluny-La Sorbonne”). There are also numerous busses, including routes 21, 27, 38, 63, 85, 86 and 87, which run near the museum.
History of the Cluny Museum
The collection of the archaeologist and art collector Alexandre Du Sommerard gave the impetus for the founding of the Musée de Cluny.
When he lived in the mansion Hôtel de Cluny, a residence of the Cluny Abbey from Burgundy, he put together an extensive collection of medieval art works and objects.
After Du Sommerard's death in 1842, the state acquired this collection as well as the building, which led to the founding of the museum in 1843.
For this reason, the Hôtel de Cluny, which the Benedictine abbey of Cluny originally acquired in 1330, was converted into a museum building.
Since the Hôtel de Cluny was built on the remains of a second century Gallo-Roman bath (Thermes de Cluny), today's museum building spans a period that extends from antiquity through the Middle Ages to modern times.
A medieval garden has been part of the museum since 2000. Today the Cluny Museum is considered one of the most important sights in Paris.
Due to extensive renovations, the museum will be closed from September 2020 until probably autumn 2022.