Musée National du Moyen Âge

Musée National du Moyen Âge (40)

The Museum of the Middle Ages could be in no other place than a medieval mansion. Before it was known as the Museum of Cluny, since its original owner had been Pierre de Chalus, Abbot of Cluny. The abbot had bought the ruins that were left standing in this area in 1330. 

Around the building some medieval gardens have been recreated, in the style of the period. 

In the museum you can appreciate a wonderful collection of medieval art and Gallic-Roman remains.

The history of this museum dates back to 200 BC when some Gallic-Roman baths were built. These baths were in operation for one hundred years until barbarians sacked and set fire to them. The remains of these baths can currently be seen in the museum.

The medieval mansion that makes up the main body of the museum was built around 1500, at the behest of Jacques d’Amboise, Abbot of Cluny. 

Like so many other monuments, this mansion also suffered the blows of the French Revolution. In 1789 it was laid siege to and sold by the State. Years later Louis XVIII ordered the baths to be dug up.

But the history of this place as a museum really starts in 1833, when the mansion was bought by Alexandre du Sommerard, a great collector of medieval objects. After his death the State acquired the site and its contents and turned it into a museum.

The museum guards one of the most splendid collections of medieval art in the world, including tapestries, canvases, precious metals, ceramics, sculpture, sacred objects...

Among the jewels of the museum we would highlight a fabulous collection of tapestries whose value lies in their magnificent state of conservation. The most notable are the six that make up “The Lady of the Unicorn” series. Dated at the end of the 16th century they are notable, above all, for their elegance and harmony in the representation of plants, flowers, animals and people. Allegories of the five senses are illustrated.

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