With our love of European history, Cluny was on our must see list of places to visit during last fall's trip to Paris. From our apartment in Les Halles, we took the Metro to the Cluny La Sorbonne station, with its artistically rendered mosaics and signatures of famous authors, poets, philosophers, artists, and statesmen adorning the ceiling. From there we walked a few blocks to a Starbucks where, seated amid masses of studying and debating college students, we breakfasted on coffee and croissants.
Another short walk in the cool October air took us to the Cluny museum. After checking our coats, we walked through the gift shop and stepped into the first of a multitude of galleries filled with medieval masterpieces.
For hours we strolled through room after room of art and artifacts - paintings, chalices, statues, and ornamentation of the medieval churches.
A large room with black walls and dim lights holds the Lady and Unicorn tapestries, a series of six Flemish tapestries woven from silk and wool in the late 15th century. Each tapestry depicts one of the senses - taste, hearing, sight, touch, and smell. The sixth depicts love or desire. We stood in silence, in wonder, and in awe.
Another room held an intriguing relic, a unicorn's horn, so stated on the small sign below it. Other galleries held knights' armor, chainmail, and weapons.
In an adjoining building but still within the museum, we came to the ruins of the Gallo-Roman baths and other statues dating from the 3rd century.
Although the guidebooks say to allow one hour to tour Cluny, we were there for well over three hours and could have stayed the entire day. If you have a love of medieval history, I urge you to find a way to visit Musée de Cluny. It will remain in your heart forever.
Debra K. Maher