Thermes de Cluny  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Thermes de Cluny are an ancient Gallo-Roman ruin lying in the heart of Paris' 5th arrondissement and which are partly subsumed into the Musée de Moyen Age- Hôtel de Cluny.

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 consoles on which the barrel ribs rest being 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. [1] 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 du Moyen Age, and as such is the occasional repository for historic stonework or masonry occasionally found in Paris. The spectacular frigdarium 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 (Galley 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.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Thermes de Cluny" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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