On yet another cold, rainy Spring day in Paris, I decided to to finally the see the famous Museum of the Middle Ages or in French Musee Du Moyen Age.
The actual building itself took me by surprise, as it was once an abbey to monks in the 1400s during Medieval Paris. The building started construction in the 1300s and was completed in the 1500s. It has housed many royal visitors over time, and now houses the museum with a really cool collection with a beautiful interior.
Art from the European middle ages was typically flat and 2-dimensional in character, but it does have a unique edge to it with it’s decorative and intricate details and inclusion of mythological creatures and obscure symbols that combine both the old traditions of Western Europe culture and its convergence to the new order of Christianity at the time.
The stained glass display was very beautiful and full of strange Western medieval symbolism that had remained in the culture.
Tapestries were the ultimate accessory to have in your household, if you could afford it, during these times. I think it was because of the lack of heating that a good few carpets on the walls would keep you snug during the cold winters. Most tapestries contained images of everyday life or celebrated church events with lots of cultural symbolism.
The most famous tapestries housed in the museum are the Unicorn Tapestries or known as the Lady and the Unicorn. They are a series of 5 huge carpets that supposedly symbolise the 5 senses that are enlightened during sexual awakening and the road to adulthood. The tapestries have many symbols of fruits, nature and animals. You can figure out what the unicorn stood for…..
I’m not too sure why unicorns were all the rage. They did have a real Narwhal whale tusk/horn housed in there too which was an actual ornament of someone who kept it as a souvenir in the church in the 1300s. Otherwise the tapestries are very interesting and beautiful works.
Life during these times was hard. Daily life in the middle ages consisted of dealing with war, catching the plague, no plumbing and no toothpaste.
The Museum of Middle ages is really interesting and I recommend it. The building itself with it’s ancient well and cobble stoned ground already sets a nice mood before entering.
Check out their website for more info:
Entry fee: 14 Euros & Free every 1st Sunday of the month.