Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Medieval Paris: The Cluny Museum

The Cluny from outside the walls.
The first time I went to the Cluny, I went for the Unicorn Tapestries.  The next time, I went for the gardens.  This time, I was searching for everyday medieval objects.  In each case the Cluny has more than fulfilled my expectations. 

A reliquary, in this case a golden foot intended to hold
the foot bones of a saint.
The gardens were closed this time, but I ate lunch in a little garden off the side of the museum.  Though it wasn’t specifically medieval in its construction and design, it still allowed me a bit of quiet in the middle of a seven-mile day.  The  Unicorn Tapestries have a delightful new room.  Before, I was concerned about the fading of the tapestries, and the new room uses diffused light to keep the rich reds and deep blacks of the Unicorn Tapestries from continuing to fade. 

What draws me again and again at the Cluny are the reliquaries. I remember being disappointed on my first trip there that they no longer held the hair, toenails, bones, or other physical objects connected to the saints the were created to hold, but the care that has been taken with the containers speaks to a devotion, fascination, and faith that I still admire. 

Board games from the 14th century.
I spent a lot of time in the everyday objects room, fascinated by the combs and buttons in one exhibit and by the playing cards and dominoes in another. 

I can’t imagine a visit to Paris without the Cluny.  Next time, hopefully I’ll be able to eat my Nutella and baguette in the Museum gardens.

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