paris_368The palate of the Thermal baths of Cluny, which was used at the same time as citadel, was built, according to any probability, when Constance  Chlorinates, the cesar of Gaules, the conqueror of England, which lived in Lutèce from 287 to 292 after Jesus-Christ, was emperor.

paris_376a In year 360,  césar Julien the Apostate was in this same place proclaimed emperor, by the army and the people and it attached his fame to it, because it is called commonly the Thermal baths of Julien. One owed well him this honor in recognition of the particular attachment which it had for “its dear Lutèce”. After him, the Valentinien emperors and Gratien spent the winter of 365 there.

paris_485Leaned two-track Romans: the main road of the South, whose layout is indicated today by the street and the Saint-Jacob suburb, and another whose substructions were discovered in 1839 pennies the ground of the street of the Toothing-stone, now represented by the Eastern side of the boulevard the Michaelmas, the imperial palate was to present at midday its principal frontage, in front of which to the street Soufflot the campus extended or places of weapons.

paris_371Side of the west, it dominated of immense gardens prolonged until the current site of Saint-Germain-des-Prés, and to the Seine on the northern side.


paris_374The palate of the thermal baths will be built on the model of all the great establishments of public baths established then in the capitals of the Roman Empire: a hot room (caldacium), a tepid room (tepidarium), a cold room (frigidarium). One allots his construction to the powerful corporation of Nautes of Paris, which held the monopoly of water. It was fed out of water by the Roman aqueduct of Arcueil, and was equipped with sewers and the underground corridors, oldest of Paris. It will be used as refuge with Parisian during the successive invasions of Huns and the Norman ones.

paris_378aThe merovingian king Childebert still lived it and the poet Fortunat  sang of it the magnificence at the beginning of VIIth century. The carlovingians emperors, who usually resided in Aachen, gave up the palate of Paris; the Alcuin English, who was like the minister of Charlemagne for the development of the education state, there establishes, says one, a school or rather a workshop of manuscripts and miniatures.

paris_490 The current ruins represent only one third of the vast Gallo-Roman building undoubtedly built by the powerful corporation of the Parisian nautes. The Thermal baths consisted of spaces for the baths like the caldarium (hot room), tepidarium (room tepid) and frigidarium (cold room), or of the common parts and services. Undergrounds fed the system of heating (hypocaustes) allowing a drainage in the Seine. The supply water was ensured by a long aqueduct of almost 15 kilometers directly connected to the plain of Rungis. The Thermal baths were ransacked and set fire to by the barbarians at the end of IIIth century.

paris_380The construction of the enclosure of Philippe-Auguste, while inserting in the city the vast gardens of the palate, which one called the Field of Laas, i.e. of the citadel (in Latin arx, as old French Li ars), determined the allotment and the parcelling out of it. The districts Saint-Andre-of-Arts, to the Hautefeuille street  and the street of School-of-Medicine, are formed at the expense of the old gardens of the old palate. It was whereas Philippe-Auguste, by a charter of 1218, made gift to his  chamberlain of the palate itself, Henri, tiny room to the state of rural field, because it contained a press

paris_379aAbout 1330, Pierre de Châlus, abbot of Cluny-in-Burgundy, buy the ruins and the grounds bordering to built there an hotel intended for the abbots come to the college which it has just founded close to the Sorbonne. Rebuilt by Jacques d' Ambois, bishop
of Clermont at the end of XIIIth century, this private residence of XVth still comprises medieval elements the such turrets receiving the staircases or the battlements on the covered way but it precede also the future Parisian private mansions with a building built on a plan out of U and a body of the home between court and garden. The hotel accomodates Marie of England, widow of Louis XII, in 1515 then the nuncios of the pope in the XVIIth century.

paris_381During the Revolution, the hotel is issued quite national. It is sold and in 1833, Alexandre of Sommerard comes to place in Cluny and installs there a collection of art objets of the Middle Ages and Rebirth.  Lastly, when the State went purchaser, after the death of Mr. of Sommerard, the admirable collection formed by this antique dealer in the hotel of Cluny, the town of Paris offered in pure gift the ruins of the palate of the Thermal baths, and the new museum was consisted the law of July 24, 1843 under the name of museum of the Thermal baths and the Cluny hotel.

paris_383The entry of the Hotel of Cluny is street of Sommerard, in which one penetrates by a door in surbased arch. The frontage of the abbey hotel is composed of a large main building flanked of two wings, and divided in its line of centers by a large turret with cut sides.

paris_377The frontage and the turret are surmounted by an up to date gallery behind which high richly carved attic windows rise, and whose tympanums represent the escutcheons, the badges and the currencies of the family of Amboise. The left wing, while entering the court, is bored of four ogival arcades which give access in a room communicating to the palate Thermal baths.


paris_372The walls are those of a Roman construction, whose antique cover was altered only in 1737. One replaced it in the last years. The right wing formerly contained the kitchens and the offices. The well, located in the angle of the court, preserved its old and artistic fitting. In the opposed angle, joining the principal frontage, the entry of the museum and its collections is.

paris_382Around the buildings, side of the street of Cluny and on the large septentrional frontage that skirts the Saint-Germain boulevard, a green garden spreads its freshness and its shade on the stone monuments, statues, columns, pilasters, low-reliefs, inscriptions, furnace bridges and tomb stones which in the open air double the interior collections of a museum. It is there that one rebuilt the gate of the Saint-Benoît church, found under the false frontage of the theatre of the Pantheon, demolished by the passage of the street of the Schools.

paris_479a The vault contiguous to this room also preserves its vaults at fine veins, falling down in beams on a central pillar, supporting that of the first stage, and which supports a vault with the ogival arcades; it is surmounted by a capital carrying K (Karolus) crowned of the king Charles VIII, and them weapons of the family of Amboise; one considers it, according to the expression of Mr. E. of Sommerard, as the stone of dedication of the building.


Paris_00bToday the rooms of the palate of the Thermal baths are filled with sculptures, statues, low-reliefs, votive ornaments, etc, drawn either from the Parisian ground, or of old monuments coming from the old provinces: Roman antiquities, remains of the Middle Ages and the Rebirth, sad wrecks of our religious, political or only municipal revolutions. It is in the large room of frigidarium that the curious ones about Parisian antiquities can contemplate the oldest monuments discovered on the ground of Lutèce; they are the four high Gallo-Roman furnace bridges with Jupiter by Nautes or body of the marines of Lutèce, under the Tibère emperor, who date consequently from the 1st century of the Christian era and were found on May 16, 1711, as we already said, in the foundations of a very old wall who crossed north to the south the chorus of Notre-Dame, by the workmen charged to dig the site of a vault for the burial of the archbishops of Paris.

Paris_000The first of these furnace bridges is composed of two sitted superimposed and forms a square cippe representing Jupiter, Vulcan, the Gallic Mars or Esus, gathering the crowned GUI, and a bull carrying three cranes, with this inscription: TARVOS (FOR TAURUS) TRIGARANUS. The second furnace bridge is decorated, on three faces, of figures and rough inscriptions.

One of these stones contains the important inscription which is reproduced below:


Paris_00cI.e.: “Under the reign of Tibère César Auguste, in excellent and very large Jupiter, NaUtes Parisian posed this furnace bridge publicly. ” It is thus proven that, as of the beginning of the Christian era, four centuries before the foundation of monarchy, it existed in Paris a company of navigators or fluviatile traders, that it is plausible to regard as the ancestors of the Parisian municipality.

Paris_00dThe third furnace bridge represents on a side the figure of Pollux, armed with the lance and overcoming a horse; opposed side, a similar figure, but without name, which must be Castor; on the third face, a bearded old man, whose face bald person is armed with two horns of stag in which passed from the rings. It is the god CERNUNNOS, to whom Guilhermy, the Parisian archaeologist par excellence, lent a purely imaginary mysterious character; because it is the very legitimate name of horned Bacchus (in Greek horn) who is in several gallo-Latin inscriptions collected by Forcellini; the fourth face represents the profile of a man, perhaps Hercules, holding up a bludgeon on the head of a snake. The fourth furnace bridge is as mutilated in its figures as in its inscriptions.

Far from being a place crowned at the beginning, the museum became by the significant number of crowned objects themselves which it contains. Among them, a black virgin coming from Auvergne, some beautiful parts of representation of the Christian goddess-mother. One of them carries even holes on will chakras. The famous tapestry of the lady to the unicorn is the subject of an article with whole share.