Hôtel de Cluny - Roman Baths

After the visit of the Collège des Bernardins, let’s continue with another medieval building – Hôtel (town house) de Cluny , which today houses the National Museum of the Middle Ages.

The building stands on what used to be some Gallo-Roman Baths (or thermes). The Romans, who had the control of Lutetia (Lutèce ... later to become Paris) between 52 BC and the end of the 3rd century constructed several baths, but these ones, the Cluny Baths, are the only ones today still partly visible and can normally be visited as part of the museum. Unfortunately (at least for my post), the bath part is at the moment to a large extent under restoration and partly closed for visitors. You can above from the Google map see how the shape of the Roman “frigidarium” is still present*.

I already posted about another Roman vestige, the Lutetian Arena or Amphitheatre, which together with the Cluny Baths are the only Roman remains in Paris that are still more or less visible. There are other ones, but they are underground.

As the Collège des Bernardins, Cluny was a college, part of the then new Paris University and dates also from the 13th century. It occupied partly the space where Sorbonne is today (just south of the Hôtel). The present Cluny gothic mansion (with some renaissance elements), created as living quarters, with a Chapel, was commenced in 1334, but was rebuilt 1485-1510.

Among some celebrity residents you may mention Mary Tudor (after the death of her husband Louis XII in 1515) and the Cardinal Mazarin.

After confiscation during the Revolutionary years and some changing owners, it was made to a public museum in 1843.

(My photos were again taken on a rather rainy day and the sundial did not give the hour.) The museum presents a rich collection of medieval artefacts; sculptures, different items of gold or ivory, illuminated manuscripts, stained glassworks ... and a very rich tapestry collection, including “The Lady and the Unicorn”, a series of six extremely well preserved tapestries from the late 15th century, woven in Flandres, designed in Paris. (The lights are very discrete - to allow the conservation -, which made it difficult to take pictures.)
*/ (The illustrations from the Roman times are borrowed from an excellent website, proposed by the Ministry of Clulture and the City of Paris.)


Lucie said...

Coucou Peter !

Lucie said...

Ta remarque / le cadran me rappelle que mon père avait une poubelle sur la table contenant une mappemonde gonflable. Il voulait installer un cadran solaire au jardin pour ma mère. Et au bout d'une succession de jours que je ne puis compter, il a finalement pris conscience qu'à l'heure de rentrer le soir, le jardin était dans l'ombre
(Je suis dans ma phase nostalgie en ce moment)

Les Cluny Baths ont bien résisté à l'épreuve du temps... Ils existent depuis les romains, dis tu ?
Est ce que les bains sont mixtes ou bien il y a des jours comme au hammam de la Grande Mosquée (qui est not far non plus)
Allez je plaisante !
Salut Peter, à plus !

claude said...

Peter, tu nous fais vraiment découvrir toutes les merveilles de Paris.

Olivier said...

sur la premiere photo, on pourrait se croire dans une foret de la loire. j'adore le cadran solaire (ce qui me fait penser que j'en ai trouve un à Evry, il faudrait que j'en fasse un post).

EMNM said...

Nice place, I was there few weeks ago. The lady and the Unicorn and the others tapestry are really nice.

Olivier said...

on accuse en effet la femme, car c'est pas la première fois que cela arrive, et c'est toujours la tête du petit vieux qui est coupé (une fois c'était sa main) donc on peut avoir des doutes sur sa femme, et puis elle a tout vu, mais ne veut rien dire, c'est louche non ;o)

hpy said...

THe great problem with the sundial is that ot doesn't give the hours very often nowadays. Somone should invent a raindial instead. Of course, the sun shines brightly today.

Anonymous said...

So glad the revolters didn't destroy it and other historical places.

Anonymous said...

Chevalier d'Olson, en selle nous partons guerroyer contre le soleil qui ne se montre pas assez. HPY a raison, vous allez devoir inventer les cadrans pluviaires... ou descendre dans le midi - il fait vaguement un peu gris mais sans pluie et bien chaud !

Anonymous said...

Ooops, my entry from this morning has gone. I've written but forgotten to post because I was too nervous (going to the dentist's). Now I'm waiting for the pain to vanish.
I wrote that there are some photos where it doesn't matter what the weather is like because you concentrate on the buildings. and so you have done here very well, again.

Azer Mantessa said...

ramarkable pictures and thanks to the weather.

Jessica said...

It's disappointing that you didn't get to see the Roman baths. I saw some in Italy and they're pretty cool. Hopefully they won't be closed for too long.

So fall is rainy season in Paris? How long does it last?

I agree with the others, though. Your pictures are lovely despite the cloudy skies.

Jo's-D-Eyes said...

Hi Peter,oooh yes hotel cluny with its roman style (baths and more), this impressive "hotel"I saw from nearby when we were in Paris, amazingly great!

Peter, answer on your Q (about Heineken&bud) Neh I agree (1) with you that H, might not be THE best beer in the world, I quess that the Belgium beers are way better in taste, I also prefere wine (tea and coffe) over beers, I agree (2) in that with you, Cheers!

JoAnn's D Eyes

Alain said...

C'était l'aquaboulevard de l'époque.

Virginia said...

My trip is drawing near ( Nov.16) we need to talk to decide what I really need to include in my itinerary this visit. So many sites, so little time! I trust your judgement.

Anonymous said...

Hi Peter - I knew (vaguely) about the Lady and the Unicorn but never knew it was here. Thanks for the unsurpassed info as usual!

Anonymous said...

ça y et on est revenu à Paris ? pas trop dur le choc thermique ?

Hilda said...

Oh wow, sounds like my kind of museum! The architecture alone is worth the visit — I could spend hours just looking at the building's details.

Oh wow, les sons comme mon type de musée! L'architecture vaut à elle seule la visite - je pouvais passer des heures juste à la recherche du bâtiment de détails.

Ming the Merciless said...

I finally got a chance to visit everyone's blog again.

Excellent documentation of the Roman bath. The tapestries are beautiful.

Neva said...

wow....very nice. I agree with Ming...the tapestries are beautiful!!

PeterParis said...


Je les découvre en partie moi-même!

Il y en a un nombre à Paris (le plus grand sur la Place de la Concorde). Il faut les visiter les jours avec le ciel bleu.

PeterParis said...

Once more, it's "forbidden" to come to Paris without contacting me! :-)

A raidial! :-) A very good idea! (How would it work?)

A lot has been destroyed by Vikings, the Revolution ... and some may think by Haussmann.

PeterParis said...

For a sun dial you need sun. For a rain dial I guess you need rain. So, when it's cloudy? Maybe a watch?

Yes, you cannot always wait for the sun. I trust that the pain is gone by now?

Thanks to the weater ... an my Canon!

PeterParis said...

Normally September should be nice month, a good month for visits to Paris!

We seem to have shared tastes!

Aquaboulevard! Bravo! :-)

PeterParis said...

I will come back to you soonest!

As you are frequent Paris visitor, there will be a new chance!

Ca va!

PeterParis said...

Nice to see you here! Yes, the problem with museum visits is that you cannot look at all. You don't always have all the time needed!

We all have our connectivity problems now and then!

I believe we all agree!