Saturday, December 27, 2014

Collections: Medieval and Religious

This is the conclusion to my Paris series and I write about visiting the Treasury of Notre Dame and the medieval museum, Musee national du Moyen Age (formerly Musee Cluny). Our last day doesn't give us a lot of time since we have to leave the following (late) morning so to keep things straight forward, we stick around the area within walking distance and head to the Musee Cluny for the famous "La dame a la licorne" (The Lady and the Unicorn) set of tapestries.

The 6th and best known tapestry of the series

The building is an example of surviving "civic architecture of Paris". It's undergone several uses and owners but it was Alexandre du Sommerard who amassed the medieval and Renaissance collection that is housed there now. The collection is quite extensive and in addition, the site on which the hôtel is built, is actually an archeological site itself: it was built on top of a Roman bath of Paris.

Still impressive: exterior garden... in the middle of the winter!

Before entering the building, take some time to check out the exterior because it's quite impressive and there is also a garden. Once you've paid for your fare, remember to ask where to get the free recorded guide sets. Then you set off into the museum at your pace and check out the numbered exhibits.

Lots of religious themes in gold...

The inside of the building is as visually appealing as the exterior, with an impressive hall and the Gothic style chapel. Granted, the most impressive is most certainly the Roman bath ruins where you step into a huge vast space that is not only horizontally expansive, but the ceilings are towering! I was breathless when I entered and saw the expanse of space with various artifacts dispersed throughout.

Stained glass from Sainte Chapelle

Vaulted Gothic ceilings of the chapel

Upon finishing up our tour of Muse Cluny, we visited the Treasury of Notre Dame. This area houses the fragments of the crucifix that King Louis IX (Saint Louis) brought to Paris as well as an apparent piece of the crown of thorns. The authenticity of these items is still questionable (even at his time) but they are displayed in grandeur in a small room of the cathedral. It's certainly an impressive sight of bejeweled religious artifacts. You won't spend a lot of time here but it's certainly worth checking out if you happen to have some time while you're at Notre Dame.

Not even too sure what this was but that large blue rock is a lapis lazuli

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