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Paris - Latin Quarter: Musée national du Moyen Age | by wallyg
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Paris - Latin Quarter: Musée national du Moyen Age

The Musée de Cluny, officially known as Musée National du Moyen Âge (Museum of the Middle Ages), located in the Latin Quarter, houses a variety of important medieval artifacts, in particular its tapestry collection, which includes La Dame à la Licorne.


The museum is housed in the Hôtel de Cluny, the most oustanding example still extant of civic architecture in medieval Paris. The Hôtel started in 1334 as the town house for the abbots of Cluny. It was rebuilt by Jacques d'Amboise, Bishop of Clermont and Abbot of Jumièges, to its present form, combining Gothic and Renaissance elements, from 1485-1500. Francis I kept Mary Tudor here in 1515 after the death of her husband so he could watch over her, ensuring she wasn't pregnant.


In 1793 the Hôtel was confiscated by the state, and for the next three decades served several functions. At one point it was owned by a physician who used the magnificent Flamboyant chapel on the first floor as a dissection room. In 1833 Alexandre du Sommerard moved to the hôtel and brought his large collection of medieval and Renaissance objects. Upon his death in 1842, the collection was purchased by the state and the museum was opened the following year, with his son as the first curator. The present gardens were opened over a century later in 1971. The Hôtel de Cluny is partially constructed on the remains of Gallo-Roman baths dating from the third century (known as the Thermes de Cluny), of which remnants still stand and are open to the public in the frigidarium (cooling room), next to the Hôtel.


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Taken on September 9, 2007