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A Medieval Treasure in the Heart of Paris

To say that there are an unlimited number of fun things to do in Paris is quite the understatement. But for most people who visit, you only have a limited time and you want to see as much as possible. With limited time and for most of us, limited budgets, you have to make sure you get the biggest bang for your buck.
On most everyone’s list, you have to see the Eiffel Tower, The Arc de Triomph, Notre Dame and all the major sites that are listed in your guidebooks. Let’s face it, Paris would not be Paris without these attractions, but in addition to the major sites, there are any number of smaller destinations in the city that are worth the time to visit and will fit into just about any travel budget.
One of my absolute favourites is the Musée de Cluny which houses the Musée Nationale du Moyen Age (The National Museum of the Middle Ages). This place is one of the jewels of the city. The 15th century hotel (it served as a residence for the abbot and visiting dignitaries who would come and visit the Cluniac monastery which sadly is no longer there) was built on the former Gallo-Roman baths which date to the 3-4th centuries. Some of the remains can be seen from Rue St Germain, while the remaining parts are housed inside the museum.

The remains of the Gallo-Roman baths make a perfect setting for early medieval artifacts, some of which are the original sculptures from Notre Dame.

The remains of the Gallo-Roman baths make a perfect setting for early medieval artifacts, some of which are the original sculptures from Notre Dame.

Its permanent holdings are a stunning collection of some fantastic pieces of medieval art. Its centrepiece is the Unicorn tapestries. One day, I will have to do a blog post just on the tapestries, but trust me they are worth the price of admission alone.

Just a few examples from the Unicorn Tapestries.  One day, they will be there own blog post.

Just a few examples from the Unicorn Tapestries.
One day, they will be there own blog post.

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Also, it hosts temporary exhibitions. Currently, the exhibition is a collection of Swabian (a region from western Germany) sculptures from the 15th and 16th centuries.

When one talks about old world craftsmanship, this is what they are talking about.

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The emotional realism in Northern European art at the end of the Middle Ages was unsurpassed anywhere else.

The emotional realism in Northern European art at the end of the Middle Ages was unsurpassed anywhere else.

One of the striking things is the humanity that is captured in sculptures.

One of the striking things is the humanity that is captured in sculptures.

A jolly little infant Jesus

A jolly little infant Jesus

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So if you are looking for something a little different, just a little off the beaten path (not too far, cross the street and you’re in the Latin Quarter, just a few minutes away from Notre Dame) check out the Musée Nationale du Moyen Age and treat yourself to a different side of Paris. And at 8-9€, your vacation will be the richer for it.

Among its permanent collections, is a fine collection of ivory inlaid books and other items.  As beautiful as they are, knowing the toll on the animals who were hunted for their tusks, the admiration is tempered a little

Among its permanent collections, is a fine collection of ivory inlaid books and other items. As beautiful as they are, knowing the toll on the animals who were hunted for their tusks, the admiration is tempered a little

You can visit their website at: http://www.musee-moyenage.fr/

This is one of my favourite pieces of art. It is a diptych depicting King David and the French king, Louis XII being anointed.  The message is clear: Louis XII is a modern day David, who as king was considered God's chosen ruler. One day, I hope though to get a better image of it.

This is one of my favourite pieces of art. It is a diptych depicting King David and the French king, Louis XII being anointed. The message is clear: Louis XII is a modern day David, who as king was considered God’s chosen ruler.
One day, I hope though to get a better image of it.

And as with all museums in Paris, it is free on the first Sunday of the month.

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  1. […] This post was originally published at Jason’s Literary Salon […]

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