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National Medieval Museum (Musee National du Moyen Age)

From what I recall, Cluny was an important Abbey during the Middle Ages. There are still many signs of this: the high walls that still surround the courtyard; the well, complete with gargoyle; and the sun dial that still marks the hours. It's been converted into a museum, hosting many of the displaced art from various churches, abbeys, and cathedrals.

(Dear god, that makes it sound like I'm about to write an essay.)

I went to Cluny the last time I was in Paris, but I had mostly forgetten anything about it. Walking inside, though, I remembered the well. I'm sure I have pictures of it at home. But I still couldn't remember anything else. I couldn't remember having actually seen the famous "La Dame a la Licorne" tapestries at all.

(Famous, she says. Everyone I've talked to about going there doesn't know what I'm talking about. I may need a new class of friends. *grin*)

The museum was... Well, I hate to say this, but I was really disappointed. Again, it seemed that nothing had context, and I find that very frustrating when dealing with historical sites. It's not that I can't appreciate the artwork being shown, but I had no idea what I was looking at more often than not.

There were some real highlights, though. Some of the original stained glass from Sainte Chapelle is kept there, and it's amazing to see them up close. There was also one wall I distinctly remember, showing a collection of various church reliefs depicting the Annunciation which were fascinating. I wish I could have gotten a picture of that, because they were beautiful and although very similiar had unique features to each one. I love that sort of stuff.

The ultimate highlight is, of course, the Tapestries.

They're a series of six, each showing a lady, a unicorn, some animals, and something related to a specific sense. The final tapestry, and the largest, called "To My Only Desire", shows the lady putting away her expensive posessions in a locked box, while the unicorn looks on.

They're... beautiful. And I can't imagine how they were made. There's some theories on why they were made, but although they're likely true, it's hard to know for sure.

The rest of the museum passed by in a blur. I don't think I was the only one overwhelmed and not sure what to make of everything, as although the earlier rooms were packed with people, later rooms were empty, and no one seemed to linger over the exhibits. I decided when I'd glance in a crowded room to just focus on one or two items, enjoy them, and move on. I saw some beautiful bejewled book covers, and several crosses. I wish I'd taken more pictures, but my camera batteries died part way through.

I wish I'd had a bit more time. The gardens are beautiful, or so I've been told, and I would have liked to enjoy a walk through them. But I had several other things I wanted to do that day, and so I hurried away.

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Comments

Heh.
I may have heard of that particular tapestry, but then again it does have a fairly simple name.

Then again, I couldn't even remember the actual name of the Bayeux Tapestry until I googled for it.

Yep. For someone who claims to be facinated by history, do I ever suck
*grin*

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