Located at the center of the Latin Quarter and submerged in bohemianism, the Sorbonne represents a vital part in Europe’s long university tradition. Today, it continues to survive the pass of time as a symbol of all those thirsty for knowledge and interested in higher education.
Founded in 1253 as a theology college for less fortunate students by Robert de Sorbon, the Sorbonne later became the University of Paris and has soared in prestige ever since.
Its impressive list of professors and students – St. Bonaventure, Albert le Grand, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jean-Paul Sartre, Norman Mailer and Jean-Luc Godard have all studied there – has also contributed to its mystique. In fact, the famous Latin Quarter owes its name to the Sorbonne students who would speak Latin in the cafés and bistros that line the streets surrounding it.
Tourists have now taken the student’s place at the Sorbonne Plaza (Place de la Sorbonne) but the college continues to forge its academic history housing the Arts and Human Sciences faculty of the University of Paris.
The Sorbonne was rebuilt various times in order to accommodate the increasing demands of its alumni as the centuries went by. Most of what you can see today was built by Nenot in 1883; however, the original 16th century chapel still stands tall inside the Sorbonne courtyard.
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