The last hoardings have come down and the Musée de Cluny has opened its doors again.


Not these doors, which used to be the main entrance to the museum…


but the beautiful screen doors of the new ‘welcome’ building.

The intricate pattern of this metalwork echoes carved stone tracery on the medieval building. (Click to enlarge the previous photo and you’ll see the pattern of the second floor balustrade)


The banded stonework and round arches of the new building reflect details of the Gallo-Roman baths which form part of the museum complex.


Here’s part of the baths, built in the 1st or 2nd century AD, behind ornate 19th century railings.


The medieval Hôtel de Cluny will be closed until the end of 2020 as internal restoration work still has some way to go but meanwhile passersby can enjoy the details of the carved stone arches and the elaborate metalwork of the doors.


The Hôtel de Cluny was built in 1485 as the town house of Jacques d’Amboise, Abbot of the monastic Order of Cluny.  It was a grand dwelling with flamboyant gothic detailing, designed to demonstrate the power of the order and its abbot.

The medieval building absorbed parts of the ancient baths still standing on the city centre site. From a modern perspective it might seem as though the abbot chose deliberately to graft his house onto remnants of ancient civilization but historians now believe the baths were left standing simply because it was cheaper than knocking them down.  Times change.


A post for Thursday Doors.