The Institut is one of France's most revered cultural institutions, and its golden dome is one of the Rive Gauche's most impressive landmarks. The site was once punctuated by Tour de Nesle (forming part of Philippe-Auguste's medieval fortification wall, the tower had many royal occupants—including Henry V of England). Then, in 1661 wealthy Cardinal Mazarin willed 2-million French livres (pounds) for the construction of a college here. It's also home to
the Académie Française: protectors of the French language. The edicts issued by this esoteric group of 40 perpétual (lifelong) members are happily ignored by the French public, who prefer to send an e-mail rather than the Académie-approved courriel. The Institute is off-limits to visitors.
Pl. de l'Institut, Paris, 75006, France
Sep 1, 2014
Founded in 1688, the College of Four Nations operated for over 100 years and received prestigious students like d'Alembert or Lavoisier. This building is probably one of the finest in the city with its purity of lines and its balanced proportions. Just after the Revolution it was used as a prison and granary, then quickly the Institute of France was created with the motto "patron of the arts, letters and sciences.” The Institute includes the
Five Academies: French, Classical literature, Science, Fine arts, and Moral and Political Sciences.