From 2015 to 2022, the Musée de Cluny has undertaken an immense upgrade project . This project covered 2,600 m² of visitor areas in order to enhance the visitor experience.
The French Ministry of Culture funded these works, with project management delegated to Oppic (French public service provider for heritage and cultural property development projects).
They were conducted by several teams of contractors: Paul Barnoud, Chief Architect for Historic Monuments, and the group formed of architect Bernard Desmoulin, architect, scenographer Adrien Gardère and the engineering firm Scoping for the technical aspects.
The construction of the new reception area visible from boulevard Saint-Michel required a rethink of visitor flows and movements within the museum. All of the reception facilities (ticket office, cloakroom, restrooms, etc.) have been moved from the former hall, to the east, into the new building which is accessed from 28 rue Du Sommerard. A complete redesign of the visitor routes was therefore essential.
This project was an opportunity to offer a new approach to the collections. The museography has relinquished the thematic route in use since 1956. In order to promote a better understanding of the works, the visitor will now follow a chronological approach, taking in each room as a cohesive whole.
The first stage of the visitor route is the frigidarium in the Lutèce thermal baths, immersing visitors in Gallo-Roman antiquity. Time unfolds from one room to the next, from Byzantine collections to the birth of Gothic art, from Parisian Rayonnant Gothic to art in the 1500s, finally reaching the famous Lady and the Unicorn tapestries. The visitor route concludes with an exceptional collection of Late Gothic works.
Jewelry, sculpture, stained glass and paintings all interact to recreate the wide diversity of 1,500 years of creation. The Sainte-Chapelle stained glass windows are exhibited alongside sculptures from the same monument, while themed settings provide the key to understanding medieval society.
All that remains of the former museography is the section dedicated to Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris and the Lady and the Unicorn tapestry room.
The inclusion of access ramps, stairlifts and elevators enable everyone to move through the museum spaces.
Located in old buildings with historic monument status, the Musée de Cluny is built over several different levels. From now on, the accessibility of all the rooms is guaranteed for those with reduced mobility, who follow the same route as any other visitor.
In order to better understand the architectural history of the site, a monumental route is offered through a guided tour. In addition to the frigidarium, a tour of the Lutèce thermal baths is supplemented with visits to new spaces such as the “salle des enduits”, the Gothic cellar and the Roman annex. Please note that this route is not accessible to visitors with reduced mobility.
The heritage elements of the medieval town house, such as the decorative paintings or sculptures, joinery, etc. have also been restored during the period from 2018 to 2022.
The project will continue with work on the gardens located to the north of the museum buildings, along boulevard Saint-Germain.