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La Sorbonne was the name of the former University of Paris, in Paris, France, one among the most ancient in Europe. It is still the name of the main campus of the former University of Paris.



It was founded in 1257 by Robert de Sorbon, after whom it is named. It is also the name of its main campus in the Censored page of Paris, which now houses several universities (heirs to the former University of Paris) as well as the Paris rectorate .

It was originally created for the use of 20 theology students in 1257 as Collège de Sorbonne by Robert de Sorbon (1201-1274), a chaplain and confessor to King Louis IX of France. It quickly built a prodigious reputation as a center for learning, and by the 13th century there were as many as twenty thousand foreign students resident in the city, making Paris the capital of knowledge of the Western world. Today, foreign students still make up a significant part of its campus.

The Sorbonne became the most distinguished theological institution in France and its doctors were frequently called upon to render opinions on important ecclesiastical and theological issues. In 1622-1626, Cardinal Richelieu renovated the Sorbonne (the present buildings date from this time, with restorations dating from 1885). In his honor, the chapel of the Sorbonne was added in 1637. When Richelieu died in 1642 he was placed in a tomb within this chapel.

The faculty's close association with the Church resulted in it being closed down during the French Revolution before it was reopened by Napoleon in 1808 to serve as part of the University of Paris. Between then and 1885 the Sorbonne served as the seat of the university's theology faculties and of the Académie de Paris. At the end of the 19th century, the Sorbonne became an entirely secular institution.

On 23 June 1894, Pierre de Coubertin organized an international congress at the Sorbonne, which led to the creation of the International Olympic Committee.

In 1968 it was the starting point of the cultural revolution commonly known as "the French May" (see also situationism), resulting in the closing of the university for the second time in history (the first having been the invasion by the German army of 1940).

The University of Paris has since been reorganized into several autonomous universities and schools, some of which still carry the Sorbonne name. The historical campus, located in the Quartier Latin, in the Censored page of Paris, featuring mural paintings by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes, was split for use between several of the universities of Paris and the Rector's services.

Famous alumni

Entrance to the Sorbonne
Entrance to the Sorbonne

Past and present faculty professors

See also

External links

  • Official website

Last updated: 02-06-2005 20:58:03
Last updated: 02-27-2005 12:10:35