National Museum of the Middle Ages, Paris

The Lady and the Unicorn: To My Only Desire
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This excellent museum of medieval art is housed in a 15th-century abbot's mansion and includes ruins of ancient Roman baths.

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National Museum of the Middle Ages
6 place Paul-Painlevé
Paris, France
48.850392° N, 2.343999° E
Date Published
October 8, 2013
Last Updated
April 12, 2015

Description of the National Museum of the Middle Ages

The museum's collections are vast and a must-see for medieval art lovers. The following numbering of rooms is used in the museum's visitor guides. The list of exhibits in each room is not comprehensive but gives an indication of the most prominent and characteristic artworks. Rooms 1-6 (ground floor) and 17-23 (first floor) are housed in the 15th-century Hôtel de Cluny. The rest are in 19th- and 20th-century rooms. See the official website for a map of the museum using this numbering.

Ground Floor

  1. Museum Shop
  2. Tapestry of St. Peter (15c), Altarpiece of the Passion (16c), sculptures (14-15c)
  3. Coptic textiles (4-6c), Quadriga from Aachen (8c)
  4. Manorial Life tapestry (16c)
  5. Alabaster plaques from Nottingham (15c)
  6. Stained glass (12-13c)
  7. Gate of Pierre de Montreuil (13c), tombstones (13-14c)
  8. Sculptures from Notre Dame Cathedral (12-13c)
  9. Frigidarium of Roman Baths (1-3c). Boatmen's Pillar (1c), Saint-Landry's Pillar (2c)
  10. Romanesque Room. Capitals from Saint-Germain-des-Pres (11c), ivories (4-12c), statue heads from Saint-Denis (12c), large wooden Christs from crucifixes (12c), Virgin and St. John from Prato (13c)
  11. Gothic Room. Apostles from Sainte-Chapelle (13c), capitals from Catalonia (12c), sculptures from Poissy (13c).
  12. Tapestries (16c), chests, caskets, shoes, pilgrim badges, toys, etc.

First Floor

  1. The Lady and the Unicorn tapestry (15c)
  2. Antwerp altarpieces (16c), altar frontal of life of the Virgin (14c), Pieta of Tarascon (15c), tapestry of the Prodigal Son (16c)
  3. Scriptorium and brassware
  4. Golden Visigothic crowns (7c), golden rose (14c), Limoges enamels (12-13c), Sainte-Chapelle reliquary (13c)
  5. Sainted glass (14-15c), ivories (14-15c), Hispano-Moresque lustreware (15c)
  6. Choir stalls with

    The Musée National du Moyen Age (National Museum of the Middle Ages) is housed in the Hôtel de Cluny, one of only two remaining medieval homes in Paris (the other is the Hôtel de Sens in the Marais). The building was founded by the rich and powerful 15th-century abbot of Cluny Abbey, Jacques d'Amboise, who constructed his mansion over the ruins of a Roman bath.In addition to abbots, the Hôtel de Cluny hosted other notable residents, including Mary Tudor, widow of Louis XII, beginning in 1515. Seized during the French Revolution, the Cluny was rented in 1833 to Alexandre du Sommerard, an amateur art collector who was fascinated with the Middle Ages. After his death in 1842, the government bought the building and the collection.


November 1, 2012
July 21, 2008