Thermes de Cluny

Paris, France

The Thermes de Cluny are the ruins of Gallo-Roman thermal baths lying in the heart of Paris" 5th arrondissement. The present bath ruins constitute about one-third of a massive bath complex that is believed to have been constructed around the beginning of the 3rd century. The best preserved room is the frigidarium, with intact architectural elements such as Gallo-Roman vaults, ribs and consoles, and fragments of original decorative wall painting and mosaics.

It is believed that the bath complex was built by the influential guild of boatmen of 3rd-century Roman Paris or Lutetia, as evidenced by the fact that the consoles on which the barrel ribs rest are carved in the shape of ships" prows. Like all Roman Baths, these baths were freely open to the public, and were meant to be, at least partially, a means of romanizing the ancient Gauls. As the baths lay across the Seine river on the left bank and were unprotected by defensive fortifications, they were easy prey to roving barbarian groups who apparently destroyed the bath complex sometime at the end of the 3rd century.

The bath complex is now partly an archeological site, and partly incorporated into the Musée national du Moyen Age, and as such is the occasional repository for historic stonework or masonry found from time to time in Paris. The spectacular frigidarium is entirely incorporated within the museum and houses the Pilier des Nautes. Although somewhat obscured by renovations and reuse over the past two thousand years, several other rooms from the bath complex are also incorporated into the museum, notably the gymnasium which now forms part of gallery 9 (Gallery of French Kings and sculptures from Notre Dame). The caldarium (hot water room) and the tepidarium (warm water room) are both still present as ruins outside the Musée itself and on the museum"s grounds.

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Details

Founded: c. 200 AD
Category: Prehistoric and archaeological sites in France
Historical period: Roman Gaul (France)

Rating

4.8/5 (based on Google user reviews)

User Reviews

William Gedye (18 months ago)
Fascinating museum reconstructed Roman bath house.
Edward (2 years ago)
The Thermes de Cluny are the ruins of Gallo-Roman thermal baths lying in the heart of Paris' 5th arrondissement, and which are partly subsumed into the Musée national du Moyen Âge - Thermes et hôtel de Cluny.
N F (2 years ago)
Voir aussi la tour du Fouettin
Kevin Prom (3 years ago)
Roman ruins in the heart of Paris! The Cluny museum has incorporated the Roman baths as part of their exhibition space. The only way to go inside is to pay for the Cluny Medieval Art Museum tour. Well worth it though!
Arlette San Juan (3 years ago)
Dés le 3éme siécle se construit des thermes à Lutéce , Les Thermes de Cluny sont sans doute construites par la puissante corporation des Nautes Parisiens. En effet la salle de voûte présente une structure en forme de navire et les décorations à motifs de poissons confirme cette hypothèse. La cohabitation gallo -romaine devait permettre aux membres de la Confrérie des Nautes d'accéder librement aux thermes. Il ne reste que la salle la plus froide des thermes ( le frigidarium ) oû on peut remarquer les lignes de briques rouges qui sont une marque architecturale romaine qu'on retrouve sur tout le bassin méditerranéen. Cette structure suffisamment solide pour avoir subsisté jusqu'à nos jours supportait autrefois un jardin suspendu avec des arbres. Les Thermes sont dégagées et restaurées sous l'ordre de Louis 18.
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