Localisation
Open hours

For more information, click on Visit the Sorbonne

Closing periods :

  • Tuesday, Sunday

Opening hours

  • The Sorbonne can be visited during guided tours for groups and individuals.
  • It can be visited freely during the European Heritage Days.

Pour toute information cliquez sur Visiter la Sorbonne

Horaires et périodes de fermeture

  • Mardi, dimanche

Horaires d'ouverture

  • La Sorbonne se visite dans le cadre de visites guidées pour groupes constitués et pour individuels.
  • Elle se visite librement à l'occasion des Journées européennes du patrimoine.
Access

La Sorbonne - La Sorbonne Université
Place de la Sorbonne
75005 Paris
Tel. +33 (0) 1 40 46 23 39
visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr
https://www.sorbonne.fr/la-sorbonne/visiter-la-sorbonne/

  • Métro - Cluny - La Sorbonne
  • RER - Luxembourg
  • Bus - 21, 27, 38, 47, 63, 86, 87
Address

La Sorbonne - Université
Place de la Sorbonne
75005 Paris
Tel. +33 (0) 1 40 46 23 39
visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr
https://www.sorbonne.fr

 

Coordinates Latitude Longitude
Sexagesimal (°, ', ") 48° 50′ 55″ N 2° 20′ 36″ E
Degré décimal (GPS) 48.8486055 2.3424135
Reservation

Rates and conditions: guided tour

Guided tours for individuals: two Wednesdays and one Saturday per month at 10:30 am and/or 2:30 pm. Registration required by email visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr - 7€ to 15€/person. Free under certain conditions.

Group visits for groups: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 10:30 am or 2:30 pm. Registration required by email visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr - 7€ to 15€/person. Free under certain conditions.

Tarifs et modalités : visite guidée

Visites guidées pour individuels : deux mercredis et un samedi par mois à 10h30 et/ou 14h30. Inscription obligatoire par mail visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr - 7€ à 15€/personne. Gratuité sous certaines conditions.

Visite de groupe pour groupes constitués : lundi, mercredi, jeudi et vendredi à 10h30 ou 14h30. Inscription obligatoire par mail visites.sorbonne@ac-paris.fr - 7€ à 15€/personne. Gratuité sous certaines conditions.

Description complète

The Sorbonne of Paris was founded in 1253, on the initiative of Louis IX (or Saint Louis) ... for 16 needy students and to study theology. Everything is implemented by Robert de Sorbon, chaplain and confessor of the king Saint Louis. At the beginning of the 1600s, the Sorbonne College was in fact a collection of disparate buildings erected along the rue Coupe-Gueule, today called rue de la Sorbonne.

The Sorbonne of Paris is in the close neighborhood of the Luxembourg Palace and the Pantheon.

The Cardinal of Richelieu

The Cardinal de Richelieu, had been a student at the Sorbonne College in 1606-1607. He became the principal on August 29, 1622. He then undertook an ambitious program of renovation of the college which had become the seat of an important library, a place of learning, the seat of the assemblies of the faculty of theology of the University of Paris, and of course with an increased number of boarders.

Richelieu had the buildings rebuilt in a classical style, and when he became Prime Minister, he revised the project in a more ambitious sense and decided to rebuild the chapel that we can still see today. The reconstruction work began in May 1635 and the main structure was almost finished when the cardinal died in 1642. This ensemble is considered the masterpiece of its architect Jacques Lemercier. Richelieu's heiress and executor of the will, directed the completion of the work. The new college doubled its surface area and was also equipped with a large chapel destined to receive the tomb of the cardinal. In addition to these improvements, Richelieu bequeathed part of his library and his fortune to the institution.

The Sorbonne of Paris during the revolutionary period

The buildings were closed to students in 1791 and the "Sorbonic society" was dissolved at the same time as the universities of Paris and the provinces, as a consequence of the Le Chapelier law. The chapel, disused and transformed into a temple of the goddess Reason, was ransacked in December 1794 and the graves were desecrated. Several projects to use the buildings of the College failed. Under the Consulate, Napoleon Bonaparte transformed the site into an artists' studio, under the name "Musée des Artistes" (An VIII-1822).

The beginning of the 19th century, seat of the faculties of science, literature and theology of Paris

In 1806, the Emperor Napoleon reorganized the entire French educational system by creating the Imperial University with a completely renewed vision. It grouped all levels of education and included at its highest levels special schools and faculties of five types: Faculty of Science, Faculty of Letters, Faculty of Theology, Faculty of Law and Faculty of Medicine. The last two faculties were housed in the Place du Panthéon and in the rue de l'école de Médecine, while the other three were housed in the buildings of the former Collège du Plessis, and in 1821 in the former Sorbonne de Richelieu. The building also became the headquarters of the rectorate of the Academy of Paris.

After the Restoration and during the 19th century: improvements not equal to the problems

During the Restoration, the Duke of Richelieu (1766 - 1822), Prime Minister of Louis XVIII, wanted to honor the memory of his great-great-uncle the Cardinal of Richelieu, by restoring the Sorbonne to its former glory. He had an amphitheater built with a capacity of 1,200 seats. Despite these improvements, the old 17th century buildings, abandoned during the ten years of the Revolution, had deteriorated considerably. The concentration of students in literature, science and theology from the entire Paris academy in this one college quickly became a problem of cramped space. The renovation of the complex became an emergency that lasted throughout the 19th century.

During the Second Empire, Léon Vaudoyer was entrusted with the renovation project. He designed a palace with a large façade on rue Saint-Jacques and an astronomy tower. The first stone was laid in 1855, but the project was not completed.

The creation of the École Pratique des Hautes Études further highlighted the problems of the cramped conditions of the building. The new teaching and research laboratories of the Faculty of Sciences, financed by the École pratique, had to be installed in apartments in the rue Saint-Jacques.

The construction of the Sorbonne of Paris by Henri-Paul Nénot

He took up Léon Vaudoyer's idea of building not a college but a true palace of science and literature.

The demolition of the buildings, except for the chapel, lasted ten years, from 1884 to 1894. The church of the Sorbonne of Paris had been built from 1635 to 1642 by Jacques Lemercier, according to the will of Richelieu. The tomb of Richelieu is in the church, sculpted by François Girardon in 1694. The dome is the work of Philippe de Champaigne.

The first stone of the new building of the Sorbonne was laid in 1885. The president of France Sadi Carnot was able to inaugurate the first part of the complex, to the north, in 1889, for the centenary of the French Revolution. The entire work was not completed until 1901.

Paul Nénot's project: Sorbonne of Paris, both simple and grandiose.

  • to the north, on the rue des Écoles, he created a vast academic palace, intended to house the administration of the rectorate, the chancellery of the university and the secretariats of the two faculties that were to occupy the site;
  • to the south, a group of low wings, organized around numerous and adaptable courtyards, intended to house the laboratories of the faculty of science. Each department had premises specially adapted to its discipline;
  • between the two, a generalist complex around a main courtyard, with vast rooms, large amphitheaters and a central library, able to accommodate all kinds of teaching, but in particular those of the Faculty of Arts.

The spaces initially planned for the faculty of theology, which was abolished in 1885, were attributed to the École nationale des chartes, which thus became the second special school after the École pratique des hautes études to be established in the Sorbonne complex.

At the time of its inauguration, the complex imagined by Nénot seemed to some to be both grandiloquent and oversized. In 1914, the University of Paris had only 17308 students, but it was soon necessary to adapt it to an ever-increasing influx of students.

The academic "New Sorbonne" of the period 1896 - 1970

In 1896, a law regrouped the faculties of law, letters, medicine and sciences under the same academy in a legal entity, "the Sorbonne University". Already the seat of the rectorate of Paris, it also became the seat of the new university of Paris.

After 1885, the Sorbonne became the most important university in France. This organization of the University of Paris lasted until 1970 and was dissolved after the demonstrations of May 1968. It was replaced by 13 independent universities, numbered Paris 1, 2, 3, etc. And, today, even after the division into 13 independent universities, what remains under the name "Sorbonne" is still one of the main universities of Paris.

The Sorbonne of Paris: May 1968, the bastion of the demonstrations. The consequence

In May 1968, it is the bastion of student demonstrations, having started with the movement of March 22 at the faculty of Nanterre.

The National Assembly elected in June 1968 after the dissolution decided by General de Gaulle immediately attacked the university reform. In 1971, the University of Paris was split into thirteen new universities. While the annexes are shared between the different daughter universities. The Sorbonne complex, owned by the city of Paris, was placed in a joint ownership system managed by the Chancellery of the Universities of Paris.

After 1970, six educational institutions remained on the premises: the designated universities of Paris I, Paris III, Paris IV and Paris V, as well as the École des Chartes and the EPHE. This multiplication of actors favored the accumulation of difficulties and inequalities in the management of the "monument" building.

The "Sorbonne" brand disputed by different institutions

The name "Sorbonne" is known throughout the world. The "cutting up" of the "pre-1968" university, left in part to teachers of different political tendencies, led to "specializations" of the universities. In addition, the "Sorbonne" brand is disputed by different institutions. This is a major issue, since this name concentrates a good part of the reputation of the old university of Paris - which dates back to 1253. This confusion has led to new "regroupings" concretized by the 2019 - 2020 reform.

University Sorbonne-Nouvelle

After May 68, on January 1, 1970, the University of Sorbonne Nouvelle was created from the former Faculty of Arts of the University of Paris.

In 2010, the universities of Paris 3 "Sorbonne Nouvelle", Paris 5 "Paris-Descartes" and Paris 7 "Paris-Diderot" joined together to form the university Sorbonne Paris Cité. They decided in 2017 on the principle of a merger planned for January 1, 2019. This project of the presidency of Paris 3 is strongly contested by the students and staff of the university, who have demonstrated through several consultations their massive rejection of this prospect. The merger, which took place in 2020 for the other universities, did not concern Sorbonne Nouvelle.  The headquarters of the Sorbonne Nouvelle University is located in the Sorbonne, a historic building that it shares with two other universities (Panthéon-Sorbonne and Sorbonne Université).

The university mainly teaches literature, language sciences, languages, performing arts, communication and European studies.

The 3 "sub-universities" of Paris 3, 5 and 7 have a total of about 18,000 students.

Panthéon-Sorbonne University

Panthéon-Sorbonne University, whose official name is "Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne", is a multidisciplinary institution of higher education in France, specializing in the fields of economics and management, arts and humanities, law and political science

The University of Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne was created in 1971 by merging part of the former Faculty of Law and Economics (Panthéon) and part of the Faculty of Letters and Humanities (Sorbonne).  In negotiations on the sharing of historical premises with other nearby universities, the University of Paris I can use rooms in the southern part of the Sorbonne, previously used by the Faculty of Sciences. Similarly, the universities of Paris I and Paris II have agreed that they will both locate their presidencies in the historic premises of the Faculty of Law at Place du Panthéon and share the site. The headquarters and the presidency of the Panthéon-Sorbonne University are located at 12, place du Panthéon, 75005 Paris.

Today, the university has approximately 40,000 students divided into ten training and research units (UFR) and four institutes. Located in fifteen different places, its administrative centers are situated in the heart of the Latin Quarter of Paris. The two main sites are the Sorbonne and Censier (rue Santeuil).

Sorbonne-University

This university was created on January 1, 2018 by merging the universities Paris-Sorbonne (Paris-IV) and Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (Paris-VI) and to which are attached in particular the school of information and communication sciences CELSA and the École supérieure du professorat et de l'éducation de Paris. It is organized into three faculties spread over 26 sites and five main campuses:

  • the Faculty of Arts
  • the faculty of medicine
  • and the Faculty of Science and Engineering

In 2019, Sorbonne University has 55,600 students including 10,200 international students, and 6,700 researchers and teacher-researchers. Sorbonne University is consistently ranked in the top universities in Europe and the world. The first recognition of its existence as an integrated university came in 2018, when it appeared on the CWUR World University Rankings 2018-2019 in 29th place globally and 1st place in France.

Its headquarters are located at 21, rue de l'École-de-Médecine. The presidency of the university is located on the Cordeliers site, in the former Cordeliers convent.

The university of the Sorbonne: there is Sorbonne and Sorbonne!

There is in fact today the University Paris I Panthéon-Sorbonne, the University Paris 3 - Sorbonne Nouvelle and Sorbonne University.

Moreover, in the Sorbonne building, the former Sorbonne Paris Cité University is also present through the "Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Sorbonne" of the former Paris Descartes University (Paris V) which includes departments of cultural anthropology, linguistics and sociology.

Yes, it's a bit complicated! And finally, three ComUE (Community of Universities and Institutions) use the Sorbonne buildings and use the name Sorbonne:

  • Sorbonne Universities, a structure that was abolished and replaced by the association Sorbonne Université on January 1, 2018.
  • Sorbonne Paris Cité
  • Hautes Études-Sorbonne-Arts et Métiers (Hésam)

Visit of the Sorbonne of Paris buildings

Universities are a place of dense student public passage. As a result, and following the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Sorbonne is, in principle, closed to the public.
With the exception of a few rare grouped visits organized by the Chancellery and the European Heritage Days, only students and staff of institutions with premises in the Sorbonne, as well as readers of the Sorbonne library, can enter. See attached Opening hours and closing periods.

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